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FIFTY YEARS OF 
BRITISH PARLIAMENT 



VOLUME TWO 




Photograph by Daily Rtcord Prtss 

THE EARL OF OXFORD AND 
ASQUITH, K. G. 



FIFTY 
BRITISH PARIAMENT 

BY 
THE EARL OFJ2XFORD AND ASQUITH, K.G. 

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 



VOLUME TWO 




BOSTON 1926 
LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 



Copyright, 1926, 
BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY. 



All rights reserved 
Published October, 1926 



FEINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMBSIGA 



CONTENTS 
Part Three 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I LIBERAL DISCORDS: THE BALFOUR EIRENI- 
CON, 1901-1902 3 
II THE FISCAL CONTROVERSY: FIRST STAGE 9 

III THE FISCAL CONTROVERSY: SECOND STAGE 16 

IV 1904-1905 22 
V THE END OF THE UNIONIST REGIME 33 

VI A NEW ISSUE 40 

VII 1906 48 

VIII 1907 53 

IX THE RECONSTRUCTED GOVERNMENT 57 

X ARMY AND FINANCE, 1905-1908 63 

XI LICENSING: GOSCHEN: HARTINGTON 68 

Part Four 

XII THE BUDGET OF 1909 (I) 77 

XIII THE BUDGET OF 1909 (II) 82 

XIV DISSOLUTION AND GENERAL ELECTION OF 

JANUARY, 1910 88 

XV THE VETO FIRST STAGE 96 

XVI DISSOLUTION OF DECEMBER, 1910 102 

XVII THE PARLIAMENT ACT 108 

XVIII CHANGES OF PERSONNEL, 1910-1913 120 

XIX MR. BALFOUR'S RESIGNATION 129 



vi CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

Part Five 

XX NATIONAL INSURANCE: PAYMENT OF 

MEMBERS 13 S 

XXI MISCELLANEOUS 1905-1912 140 

XXII 1913: THE PARLIAMENT ACT AT WORK 148 

XXIII ULSTER (I) 151 

XXIV ULSTER (II) iSS 
XXV ULSTER (III) 160 

XXVI THE CURRAGH INCIDENT 166 

XXVII ULSTER (IV) 172 

Part Six 

XXVIII PARLIAMENT: PARTY CHANGES 181 

XXIX THIRD PARTIES 187 

XXX THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 192 
XXXI THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE 

CABINET (I) 205 
XXXII THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE 

CABINET (II) 213 

XXXIII OFFICES AND PENSIONS 222 

XXXIV PATRONAGE (I) 235 
XXXV PATRONAGE (II) 239 

Part Seven 

XXXVI POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 251 

INDEX 287 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

THE EARL OF OXFORD AND ASQUITH, K. G. Frontispiece 

THE LATE GEORGE WYNDHAM 28 

THE RIGHT HON. J. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN 60 

LORD GOSCHEN 70 

THE EARL OF ROSEBERY 124 

LORD MORLEY 142 

LORD HARTINGTON 188 

SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT 220 



PART THREE 



CHAPTER I 

LIBERAL DISCORDS! THE BALFOUR EIRENICON, 
I90I-I902 



T, 



HE election was followed by a reconstitution of 
the Cabinet. Lord Salisbury gave up the Foreign 
Office to Lord Lansdowne, who was succeeded at the 
War Office by Mr. Brodrick; and Mr. Goschen took 
a peerage and resigned the Admiralty to Lord Sel- 
borne. There was no political significance in these 
changes. As Campbell-Bannerman said in a speech 
in Dundee: " The stable remains the same; the horses 
are the same; but every horse is in a new stall." 
There was one notable exception: Mr. Chamberlain 
remained in his old stall at the Colonial Office. In 
the same speech, turning to his own establishment, 
with its rather motley and unruly stud, Sir Henry 
added: " The door has always been open for Lord 
Rosebery's return. We should welcome him and re- 
joice to see him standing among his old comrades, 
and taking his share in carrying on, as he so well 
can, the work which they have been endeavouring 
to prosecute in the most unfavourable circumstances 
during his absence." 

Nothing in the end came of this invitation; for 
though Lord Rosebery continued to make sporadic 



4 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

incursions into the field of controversy, not always 
in support of those who were called " Liberal Im- 
perialists ", he was for the most part content (in his 
own phrase) to " plough his furrow alone ", and 
never rejoined the councils of the Liberal Party; 
in which it is clear that at this time Campbell- 
Bannerman would readily have yielded him the first 
place. 

The war dragged on for eighteen months after it 
had been officially declared to be over; and in its 
later stages there was much controversy in Parlia- 
ment over farm-burning, concentration camps, and 
other phases of guerilla campaigning. An unfortu- 
nate phrase of Campbell-Bannerman's, used at a 
Liberal dinner " Methods of barbarism " un- 
fortunate, because it was so easily twisted into mean- 
ings which, as he often explained, but always in vain, 
it was not intended by him to convey became a 
catchword which inflamed and embittered the dis- 
putants. Amongst other consequences, it helped to 
afford the occasion for a series of dinners and counter- 
dinners, organized by the combatant sections of the 
Liberal Party, who became (not very profitably) en- 
gaged in what Henry Lucy wittily described as a 
" war to the knife and fork." The various phases 
of this domestic conflict are impartially and graphi- 
cally depicted by Mr. Spender, 1 and have now noth- 
ing more than a faint and fading interest. 

I will only venture to quote a single passage from 
one of the many speeches which I contributed to the 

1 " Life of Campbell-Bannerman." 



LIBERAL DISCORDS 5 

common stock, because it gives a fairly succinct ex- 
pression to the views of those who went by the name 
of " Liberal Imperialists." 

" Empire, to Liberals, does not mean a syndicate 
for the exploration and exploitation of the races of 
the world. It does not mean a mere commercial 
partnership, founded on the basis of profit and loss. 
It does not mean simply a mutual insurance society 
for the protection of its members against external 
attack. Its significance and its value to us are this 
that with all its failures and shortcomings, with all 
its weak places and its black spots, it is the greatest 
and the most fruitful experiment that the world has 
yet seen in the corporate union of free and self- 
governing communities." 

Such a conception of Empire would be found, I 
added, not to paralyse, but to stimulate all those 
aspirations and efforts which Liberals included under 
the general name of social reform. It was the work of 
statesmanship in this country to make the Empire 
worth living in as well as worth dying for. 

" If the Liberal Party is to succeed, it must appeal 
to sober-minded and level-headed men in all strata 
of humanity and in all quarters of the King's Do- 
minions. It must first convince the people that it is 
a national party to which they can safely entrust the 
fortunes of the Empire; and next, and not less im- 
portant, that it is the Liberal Party, distinguished in 
tradition, in principle, in spirit, from those to whom 
it is opposed, which neither fears nor favours classes 
or interests; the party which strives everywhere and 



6 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

at all times to enrich the national character and 
intelligence, to widen the range of opportunity, and 
to raise the standard of life." 

More attention is deserved by Lord Rosebery's 
speech at Chesterfield December 16, 1901, if only 
because it was (and perhaps remains) the locus 
classicus for phrases which passed quickly into the 
political currency of the time: the " neutral inn ", 
the " clean slate ", and " efficiency." All of them be- 
came texts for much controversial exegesis. C.-B., for 
instance, himself asked whether the " clean slate " 
involved as its " inevitable accompaniment " the 
practice and penance of the " white sheet? " He 
added that he was not himself prepared to " erase 
from the tablets of his creed " any principle or 
aspiration of Liberalism. To which Lord Rosebery 
(who had already, in a private interview with him, 
declared " I am not, in ecclesiastical phrase, in 
communion with you ") 2 rejoined in a letter to the 
Times: 3 " I remain outside the tabernacle, but not, 
I think, in solitude." 

No wonder that a shrewd onlooker (Lord Tweed- 
mouth) remarked that some of the Liberal leaders 
were suffering from a too profuse use of metaphor. 

The death of Queen Victoria (January, 1901) re- 
moved a great historic figure, who never ceased up to 
the end of her reign to take an active and vigilant 
part in the work of Government, and the last year of 
whose life was clouded by the anxieties and vicissi- 
tudes of the war. The war did not, in fact, come to 

2 "Life of Ripon", H, 268. * February 21, 1902. 



LIBERAL DISCORDS 7 

an end until it had lasted two and a half years. On 
May 31, 1902, the terms of peace, which had been 
negotiated by the Boer leaders with Lord Kitchener 
and Lord Milner at Vereeniging, were signed at Pre- 
toria. A month later, under the stress of increasing 
physical disability, Lord Salisbury resigned, and the 
King sent for Mr. Balfour to take his place. His first 
act (according to Mr. George Wyndham) 4 was " to 
secure Chamberlain and Devonshire, and to try and 
secure Beach." The two first named agreed to serve 
under him, the Duke undertaking the leadership of 
the Unionist peers. Sir Michael Hicks Beach retired 
from the Exchequer, and for the next three years sat 
on a back bench in the House of Commons. A year 
later (June 9, 1903) he informed the House that, if 
his protests against the growth of expenditure had 
received more sympathy from his colleagues, he 
might not then have been addressing it as a private 
member. Lord James of Hereford also retired from 
the Cabinet, to which Mr. Austen Chamberlain was 
for the first time admitted. 

An Education Bill to substitute the County Coun- 
cils for School Boards and to place the denomina- 
tional schools on the rates, and the imposition of a 
one-shilling import duty on corn and flour (in Sir M. 
Hicks Beach's last Budget) were the principal legis- 
lative achievements of the session of 1902. Between 
them they produced the effect of a political miracle: 
that of reuniting in opinion and in policy the Liberal 
Party. As early as May 23, Lord Rosebery, in a 

4 " Life and Letters of George Wyndham ", p. 447. 



8 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

,x 

speech at the National Liberal Club, took occasion 
to declare that " the Liberal Opposition in Parlia- 
ment never stood so well for unity." Later on in the 
session Campbell-Bannerman and I attended together 
the birthday dinner of the Eighty Club, and I gave 
expression to the universal feeling when I said that 
" rarely in the history of parties had any Government 
at the same time challenged the favour of destiny, 
and fired the zeal of its opponents, by producing in 
one session two such measures as the Education Bill 
and the Corn Tax." 

Mr. Chamberlain did not conceal from his Liberal 
Unionist colleagues his profound dislike of the Edu- 
cation Bill. To the Duke of Devonshire he wrote 
(September 22): "I told you that your Education 
Bill would destroy your own party. It has done so. 
Our best friends are leaving us by scores and hun- 
dreds, and they will not come back." 5 

This was probably true; but the secession was not 
so formidable as that which he himself was destined 
to initiate in the following year. 

6 " Life of Devonshire ", II, 284. 



CHAPTER II 

THE FISCAL CONTROVERSY! FIRST STAGE 

HILE the debates on the Education Bill were 
still dragging on, Mr. Chamberlain left England 
(November, 1902) on a visit to South Africa. The 
object of his mission was to bring about " racial and 
political peace ", and, incidentally, to arrange (if 
possible) for a contribution of thirty millions from 
the Outlanders towards the cost of the war. His op- 
ponents joined with his followers in wishing him God- 
speed. Before leaving he pressed on his colleagues 
that the Corn Duty imposed by Hicks Beach should 
be utilized as a starting point and leverage for the 
introduction of a system of Imperial Preference. Mr. 
Ritchie, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, at once 
entered a written protest against continuing the tax 
for any such purpose. What the real attitude of the 
Cabinet at this moment was, it is difficult to gather 
from the confused and conflicting memories, months 
afterwards, of some of its members. 1 Mr. Chamber- 
lain, it is plain, departed under the impression that 
the majority were with him; but an actual decision 
was held over till the time for settling the Budget of 
the next year (1903). 

When the details of the Budget came up for Cabi- 

1 " Devonshire ", II, 298-299. 



io FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

net discussion in the following April, Mr. Chamber- 
lain, who had just returned, found to his surprise that 
the Chancellor's proposals included the abolition of 
the Corn Duty. He again demanded its retention as 
an instalment of Colonial Preference, but allowed 
himself to be for the moment overruled. He has left 
on record his reasons for acting as he did: " The 
majority of my colleagues agreed with me. The dif- 
ficulty of carrying out my policy arose from the fact 
that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was opposed to 
it and that there was no time to fight the question out 
then and there before the Budget had to be intro- 
duced." Accordingly the Cabinet, while allowing Mr. 
Ritchie to have his way with the Budget, decided to 
use the summer in further investigations of the ques- 
tions which had been raised. No decision adverse to 
them [sic] was taken, and there was no occasion for 
me to resign. 2 

The Budget was accordingly introduced (April 23, 
1903) in the form proposed by Mr. Ritchie, who de- 
fended the removal of the Corn Duty a tax on 
both food and raw material in a full-blooded Free 
Trade argument. 

A fortnight later, on May 15, in advance of the 
" further investigations " by the Cabinet, Mr. Cham- 
berlain, in a speech at Birmingham, launched his new 
policy on the ocean of public controversy. It became 
from that moment until the general election of 1906, 
despite the competing claims of such highly polemical 
topics as Education, Licensing and Chinese Labour, 

2 " Devonshire ", p. 300. 



FISCAL CONTROVERSY: FIRST STAGE n 

the paramount and dominating issue in British 
politics. 

Mr. Chamberlain's famous discourse, described 
some months afterwards by Mr. Balfour as a " great 
speech by a great man ", was a highly characteristic 
utterance. He confessed that after roaming over 
South Africa, his " party weapons had become a 
little rusty ", and he was in no mood to " excite " 
himself (like the stay-at-home politicians) about 
" the Education Bill, Temperance Reform, Local Fi- 
nance "; " the calm which is induced by the solitude 
of the illimitable Veld may have affected my consti- 
tution." No more for him of the arbusta humilesque 
myricae. Majora Canamus.* 

He then proceeded to sound, with no uncertain 
voice, the first notes of the new strain: Preferential 
Duties for the Colonies; Retaliatory Duties against 
foreign countries. The following passage gives the 
gist of the new policy: " I say it is a new position. 
I say the people of this Empire have got to consider 
it. I do not want to hasten their decision. They 
have two alternatives before them. They may main- 
tain, if they like, in all its severity the interpretation, 
in my mind an entirely artificial and wrong inter- 
pretation, which has been placed upon the doctrines 
of Free Trade by a small remnant of Little Eng- 
landers of the Manchester School who now profess 
to be the sole repositories of the doctrines of Mr. 
Cobden and Mr. Bright. They may maintain that 

8 In the same vein he seems to have said to the Liberal Whip " You 
can burn your leaflets , we are going to talk about something else " 



12 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

policy in all its severity, although it is repudiated by 
every other nation and by all your own Colonies. In 
that case they will be absolutely precluded either 
from giving any kind of preference or favour to any 
of their Colonies or even protecting their Colonies 
when they offer to favour us. That is the first 
alternative. 

" The second alternative is that we should insist 
that we will not be bound by any purely technical 
definition of Free Trade, that, while we seek as one 
chief object free interchange of trade and commerce 
between ourselves and all the nations of the world, 
we will nevertheless recover our freedom, resume the 
power of negotiation, and, if necessary, retaliation, 
whenever our own interests or our relations between 
our colonies and ourselves are threatened by other 
people. . . . 

" It seems to me that for good or evil this is an 
issue much greater in its consequences than any of 
our local disputes. Make a mistake in legislation, yet 
it can be corrected; make a mistake in your Imperial 
policy, it is irretrievable. You have an opportunity 
now; you will never have it again." 

Mr. Chamberlain concluded by saying: " I leave 
the matter in your hands. I desire that a discussion 
of this subject should be opened." 

It became apparent, almost immediately, which of 
the alternatives he had described Mr. Chamberlain 
meant to recommend for adoption. In the House of 
Commons (May 28) he made the momentous decla- 
ration: " If you are to give a Preference to the Colo- 
nies you must put a tax on food." At the Constitu- 



FISCAL CONTROVERSY: FIRST STAGE 13 

tional Club (June 26) he stated explicitly: " I have 
already indicated my opinion that a system of Pref- 
erential Tariffs is the only system by which this 
!Empire can be kept together." It is to be observed 
! that at this stage a general tariff on imported manu- 
factures did not form part of Mr. Chamberlain's 
avowed policy. 

The Cabinet were already distracted by internal 
divisions. Their official attitude was one of provi- 
sional noncommittal, pending the result of their 
search after Truth. On the second reading of the 
Finance Bill, early in June, the Prime Minister de- 
clared that he would be guilty of a " breach of duty " 
if he were to profess a " settled " conviction where 
no conviction existed. All that was certain, for the 
moment, was that the Corn Tax had expired; but 
(as I said in the course of the debate) it was pure 
matter of speculation whether the epitaph which we 
were to carve upon its tombstone was to be Requies- 
cat or Resurgam. I at the same time pointed out the 
singularity of the parliamentary situation: 

" Here we have two Ministers of the Crown, 
Seated upon the Treasury Bench, separated the one 
from the other only by the intervention of the Prime 
Minister himself. One of them, the Colonial Secre- 
tary, is the Minister who is constitutionally responsi- 
ble for the management of the relations between this 
country and the outlying parts of the Empire; the 
other, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is the Min- 
ister responsible for the fiscal arrangements of the 
United Kingdom and a great part of the Empire. 
These two Ministers are propounding fundamentally 



14 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

and irreconcilably divergent views in a matter which 
affects more vitally than any other matter in the 
whole range of politics the unity of the Empire, 
and the fiscal arrangements and prosperity of the 
country." 

The Free Trade Ministers the Duke of Devon- 
shire, Lord Balfour of Burleigh and Lord George 
Hamilton were growing more and more restive, 
and seem to have imparted their inquietudes to the 
Prime Minister. He sought to allay their anxieties in 
a remarkable letter to the Duke (June 4, 1903) in 
the course of which he wrote: 4 

" Chamberlain's views, both in their general out- 
line and their particular details, commit no one but 
himself. They certainly do not commit me; although 
I am probably more in sympathy with him than 
either you or Ritchie 5 . . . . My hesitation, however, 
chiefly arises from doubts as to its practicability 
rather than its expediency. . . . My hope is that for 
the present it shall be agreed among us 

" (a) That the question is an open one; and that 
no one stands committed by any statement but their 
own. 

" (b) That we should be allowed officially to col- 
lect information upon the effects of the proposed 
policy. 

4 " Devonshire ", II, 307-309. 

6 It is a curious personal paradox (as Mr. Chamberlain pointed out 
at Tynemouth in October, 1903) that " whereas in 1883, or thereabouts, 
I was convinced of the extreme importance of, and advocated free im- 
ports, at that very time my opponent was Mr Ritchie, who was advo- 
cating Fair Trade and preference to our Colonies." (Imperial Union 
and Tariff Reform, p. 109.) 



FISCAL CONTROVERSY: FIRST STAGE 15 

" (c) That at all events for the Session we should 
discourage further explicit statements of individual 
opinion." 

Tacitly or expressly, the Cabinet seems to have 
acquiesced in this temporary compromise. 6 

The Cabinet " investigation " proceeded in a more 
or less informal and leisurely fashion. It resulted in 
the production of a vast magazine of statistics com- 
piled by the Board of Trade, 7 and Ministers received 
further assistance in an academic pamphlet on " In- 
sular Free Trade " from the pen of the Prime Min- 
ister himself. But outside the inner circle, people 
were not slow in making up and expressing their 
minds. The Liberal Party dashed without delay, 
and with a united front, into the fray. " All the old 
War-horses about me Ripon and Harcourt, for 
instance " (wrote Campbell-Bannerman) " are 
snorting with excitement. We are in for a great 
time. 8 ... On the other hand, the fissure in the 
Unionists' ranks deepened and widened day by day. 
Lord Goschen, in the House of Lords, denounced 
the new " unauthorized " programme of Mr. Cham- 
berlain with as much fervour as he had denounced 
the old; he described it as a " gamble with the food 
of the people." And the most brilliant of the younger 
Tories in the House of Commons Mr. Winston 
Churchill and Lord Hugh Cecil were equally out- 
spoken in the same sense. 

6 Compare Lord G. Hamilton's " Reminiscences ", p. 320. 

7 Commonly called " the Fiscal Blue Book." 

8 " Campbell-Bannerman ", II, 97. 



CHAPTER III 

THE FISCAL CONTROVERSY: SECOND STAGE 



T, 



HE proceedings of Ministers when the Cabinet 
at last reassembled on September 14, 1903, might 
have been conceived, and were certainly carried out, 
in the spirit of comedy. The month of August had 
been largely occupied by a correspondence, prolix 
but inconclusive, between the Duke of Devonshire, 1 
Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Balfour and Mr. Ritchie. Of 
much more importance was the letter of resignation 
which Mr. Chamberlain sent on September 9 to the 
Prime Minister. He admitted that " as an immedi- 
ate and practical policy the question of Colonial 
Preference cannot be pressed with any success at the 
present time." On the other hand, there seemed to 
him to be a " very strong feeling in favour of the 
other branch of Fiscal Reform." While, therefore, 
he thought that Mr. Balfour would be " absolutely 
justified " in adopting Retaliation as the policy of 
the Government, he could not himself remain in office 
while so important a part of his political programme 
as Preference was excluded. He must therefore de- 
vote himself to the work of " explaining and popu- 
larizing " it from outside. 

i "Devonshire", II, 321-333. 



FISCAL CONTROVERSY: SECOND STAGE 17 

Mr. Balfour waited to acknowledge this letter till 
the sixteenth (two days after the Cabinet), when he 
sent a short reply of regretful and sympathetic ac- 
quiescence. 

When, therefore, the Cabinet met on the four- 
teenth, the Prime Minister had Mr. Chamberlain's 
resignation in his pocket, a fact which was entirely 
unknown to his colleagues, and which (strange to 
relate) does not appear to have been communicated 
to the Cabinet either by Mr. Balfour or by Mr. 
Chamberlain himself. After the Cabinet was over 
the Duke of Devonshire saw Mr. Balfour, who (the 
Duke has recorded) " hinted that Chamberlain might 
resign." The Free Trade Ministers (still under the 
impression that they were asked to commit them- 
selves to Preference) met, and according to one of 
them (Lord G. Hamilton) " were unanimously of 
opinion that we had no option but to resign." " One 
and all of us," he adds, " were then ignorant of Mr. 
Chamberlain's resignation; and we knew that as long 
as he was one of the Cabinet, preferential tariffs could 
not be altogether dropped." 2 

The Duke of Devonshire seems to have allowed 
himself to be befogged at every stage of these curious 
transactions. He sent in his resignation on the fif- 
teenth (as did his Free Trade colleagues), but was 
induced, after a conversation 8 with Mr. Balfour on 
the sixteenth, to withdraw it. He was left, however, 
according to his biographer, 4 in a " tormenting state 

2 Speech at Baling (October 22, 1903). 

a Devonshire ", II, 347. * Ibid., p. 351. 



i8 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

of mind "; he was a man with a peculiarly keen sense 
of political honour, and " felt that the Ministers who 
had resigned must think that he had not stood by 
them." At last, on October 2 (after what seemed to 
him an unsatisfactory speech from Mr. Balfour at 
Sheffield), he resolved to make common cause with 
them and sent in his definite resignation. On October 
sixth he wrote to Lord James of Hereford: " I have 
made a mess of this business, and have come out with 
severe damage, but I suppose you are glad that I 
have got out at any price." 5 

Two contemporary comments are worth recording 
one by Sir William Harcourt, the other by Lord 
Rosebery. 

SIR W. HARCOURT: There has been nothing like 
the suppression of the resignation of J.C. since the 
days of the Oxford-Bolingbroke Cabinet, when they 
were hatching the Treaty of Utrecht and the fall of 
Marlborough. 6 

LORD ROSEBURY: Nothing like the departure of the 
Colonial Secretary, pairing off with his principal ad- 
versaries in the Cabinet, has been seen since Mr. 
Canning and Lord Castlereagh resigned in order to 
fight a duel. 7 

The dismasted Cabinet was patched up after a 
fashion, Mr. Ritchie being succeeded by Mr. Austen 

o " Devonshire ", II, 368. 

The final letters between the Duke and the Prime Minister are quite 
good reading. Mr. Balfour rebukes his correspondent for "expending 
much inquisitorial subtlety in detecting imaginary heresies " ; probably 
the first and only time in his life that such a charge was levelled against 
the Duke of Devonshire. " Devonshire ", II, 361-366. 

"Harcourt", II, 561. 

7 Speech at Sheffield, October 13, 1903. 



FISCAL CONTROVERSY: SECOND STAGE 19 

Chamberlain at the Exchequer; and Mr. Chamber- 
lain at the Colonial Office which was offered to, 
and refused by, Lord Milner by Mr. Alfred Lyttel- 
ton. The vessel and its inmates, as refitted, were un- 
kindly described by Mr. Morley as a " scratch crew 
on a raft." It was never quite seaworthy, and was 
doomed from first to last to drift hither and thither 
without compass or chart. 

The last official exposition of the Government at- 
titude at the end of this the first jphase of the 
fiscal controversy is to be found in Mr. Balfour's 
speech to the Conservative and Constitutional asso- 
ciations at Sheffield, which gave the coup de grace 
to the Duke of Devonshire's doubts and hesita- 
tions. 

He did not think (he said) that public opinion was 
ripe in this country for the taxation of food, but he 
called for liberty to negotiate with foreign countries 
and something to negotiate with. 

He put to himself the question: " Do you desire to 
reverse the fiscal tradition, to alter fundamentally the 
fiscal tradition, which has prevailed during the last 
two generations? " " Yes, I do. ... I propose to 
alter that tradition by asking the people of this 
country to reverse, to annul, and delete altogether 
from their maxims of public conduct the doctrine 
that you must never put on taxation except for 
revenue purposes." 

This was (perhaps purposely) an incomplete and 
indefinite presentation of the question, but it cleared 
the air and opened the lists for the real campaign. 



20 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Mr. Chamberlain, in his new character of a free- 
lance missionary, opened hostilities at Glasgow on 
October 6, 1903. The programme which he put for- 
ward was, in summary, as follows: 

(1) Proposed New Taxes: 

2s. a quarter on foreign (not Colonial) corn 
with a corresponding tax oh foreign flour. 

5 per cent, on foreign meat, except bacon. 

5 per cent, on foreign dairy produce. 

An average 10 per cent, on completely manu- 
factured foreign goods. 

(2) Taxes not Contemplated: 

No tax on raw materials. No tax on maize or 
bacon. 

(3) Taxes to be Relieved: 

Three quarters of the duty off tea. 
Half the sugar duty taken off. 
Corresponding reduction on coffee and cocoa. 
Preference to Colonial wines and fruit. 

The main count in his indictment of the existing 
fiscal system in these autumn speeches was that under 
it the great British industries were, one after another, 
succumbing to the competition of their foreign rivals. 
"Agriculture has been practically destroyed; sugar 
has gone; silk has gone; iron is threatened; wool is 
threatened; cotton will go." 8 A curious and no doubt 
unconscious repetition of the language used, nearly 
twenty years before, by Lord Randolph Churchill at 

8 Greenock, " Imperial Union ", etc., p. 59. 



FISCAL CONTROVERSY: SECOND STAGE 21 

Blackpool, in his transient flirtation with what was 
then called Fair Trade. 9 

Any one who desires to follow the main issues of 
argument and fact, which at once emerged, and were 
gradually and fully developed as the controversy 
went on, will find them set out in the series of plat- 
form speeches which were republished at the end of 
1903 in handy pamphlet form by Mr. Chamberlain 
and myself. They were respectively entitled: 

"Imperial Union and Tariff Reform: Speeches de- 
livered from May 15 to November 4, 1903." By the 
Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain (212 pages). London: 
Grant Richards, is. 10 

"Trade and the Empire: Mr. Chamberlain's Pro- 
posals examined in Four Speeches." By the Rt. Hon. 
H. H. Asquith. (96 pages). London: Methuen and 
Co. 6d. 

Mr. Chamberlain's parting shot, before he retired 
for a brief spell into winter quarters, was to announce 
(Leeds, December 16, 1903) the setting up of a 
Tariff Commission, whose instruction from him was 
to " frame a Model Tariff." 

9 See Churchill's " Life ", p. 236. " Turn your eyes where you will, 
survey any branch of British industry you like, you will find signs of 
mortal disease. . . . You find foreign iron, foreign wool, foreign silk and 
cotton pouring into the country, flooding you, drowning you, sinking 
you, swamping you," etc., etc. 

10 I am fortunate enough to possess, and to have before me, a copy 
of this publication, which was kindly presented to me at the time by 
Mrs. Chamberlain, inscribed in her hand " From the Wife of a Man 
of Business. M. . C." 



CHAPTER IV 

1904-1905 

HE main preoccupation of the Government in 
the session of 1904 was to avoid any definite pro- 
nouncement by the House of Commons on the larger 
issues of the Fiscal Controversy. The Liberal Oppo- 
sition naturally seized every opportunity to bring for- 
ward embarrassing motions. A typical case was one 
introduced by Mr. Black on May 18, purporting to 
" welcome " the declared policy of Ministers to op- 
pose the " taxation of food." The Prime Ministers 
intimated that if this motion were carried he would 
resign. 

The party situation on the ministerial side was 
one of grave complexity. In the summer of this year 
it was computed that Mr. Chamberlain had about 
two hundred supporters of his policy in the House of 
Commons. On the other hand, the " Unionist Free 
Fooders ", as they came to be called, anxious as they 
were to frustrate Chamberlain, had, for the most 
part, no desire to turn out the Government. They 
clung as to a welcome tabula in naujragio, to the 
Prime Minister's assurance (in March) that it was 
not proposed to deal with the Fiscal question during 
the currency of that Parliament. 1 Some of the more 

1 An amendment in that sense enabled them to avoid voting against 
and defeating the Government on Mr. Black's motion. 



1904-1905 23 

robust spirits could no longer acquiesce in a tem- 
porizing policy; Mr. Churchill, for instance, crossed 
the House to the Liberal side in May. 

On the other hand, the Liberal Unionist organiza- 
tion, of which the Duke of Devonshire had been 
president since its formation, was reconstructed by 
Mr. Chamberlain, so as to include among its pur- 
poses the propaganda of Fiscal Preference. 

The game, described by Campbell-Bannerman as 
" hunting the fiscal slipper ", went on throughout 
the year 1904 and the greater part of 1905. It 
reached almost its final phase when Mr. Balfour 
announced at Edinburgh (October 3, 1904) his 
policy to be: (a) No fiscal change during the cur- 
rency of the then Parliament: (6) If he and his 
friends won the next election, the colonies to be in- 
vited to a fiscal conference: (c) If an agreement 
were come to at the conference, it was to be sub- 
mitted to the country at another general election. 
It need hardly be said that the prospect, so opened 
out, of organized procrastination was equally dis- 
tasteful to the Chamberlainites, and the Unionist 
Free Fooders. Equally and even more exasperating 
to the Liberals was the practice, officially adopted 
in the House of Commons in the session of 1905, of 
boycotting the discussion of the matter there. In 
March and April, Free Trade motions were allowed 
to be carried with unanimity, the Government and 
the faithful among its followers deserting both de- 
bate and division. Things reached a climax on May 
22, when, after Campbell-Bannerman had asked a 



24 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

number of questions of the Prime Minister person- 
ally, Mr. Lyttelton was put up to reply. The Oppo- 
sition refused to hear him, and after a scene of de- 
plorable clamour, the sitting had to be suspended. 

All this time the Government, to judge by such 
indications as the bye-elections, was steadily losing 
ground in the country. In more than one case Min- 
isters seeking reelection on the acceptance of office, 
were defeated at the polls. There were other causes 
of disintegration and unpopularity at work besides 
the fiscal chaos. C.-B. reports the Prime Minister as 
having said of himself: " I am like a man with a 
chronic cold who knows that the slightest fresh chill 
will kill him." 2 

The introduction of indentured Chinese Labour 
on the Rand under semi-servile conditions, approved 
by the new Colonial Secretary, Mr. Lyttelton, 8 
aroused an outcry in Great Britain which was by 
no means confined to the regular Opposition. 

Moreover, the Cabinet were getting into trouble 
with some of their most ardent supporters over their 
Irish policy. Mr. George Wyndham had won his 
spurs during the Coercion regime as private secre- 
tary to Mr. Balfour. He was one of the three 
" promising " young men in the Tory Party, about 
whom in the nineties their friends and admirers used 
to dispute which was the most certain in the long run 
to attain to the highest place. The other two were 

2 " Campbdl-Bannerman ", II, 170. 

8 It is at least doubtful whether Mr. Chamberlain would ever have 
given his sanction to this short-sighted and ill-judged expedient. 



1904-1905 25 

George Curzon and Harry Cust. I knew them all 
intimately, and alas! though they were much younger 
than myself, none of them now survives. They were 
very differently endowed, but each of them combined 
brilliant intellectual gifts with much personal charm. 
In the autumn of 1898, Curzon, who had been for 
some time Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, 
was appointed Viceroy of India. Mr. Brodrick was 
transferred from the War Office to take his place, 
and Wyndham (apparently after some hesitation on 
the part of Lord Salisbury, who said: " I don't like 
poets ") was given the post of Under-Secretary for 
War. 4 

At the end of 1900 he was made Chief Secretary 
for Ireland, and in 1902 admitted to the Cabinet. 

In the session of 1903 he carried through the 
House of Commons with great ability and tact, and 
infinite assiduity, an Irish Land Bill, which was 
ingeniously contrived to facilitate the transfer of 
ownership in full from landlord to occupier upon 
terms which, by the aid of an Imperial subvention, 
made both parties to the transaction better off than 
they were before. 6 The Bill, which was not seriously 
opposed in any quarter, received the Royal Assent 
in August. 

The clouds which gradually eclipsed Wyndham's 
meteoric star arose from his selection, towards the 
end of 1902, of a distinguished Anglo-Indian, Sir 

* There is a lively account of this business in " Life and Letters of 
George Wyndham ", pp. 66-67. 

See " Life and Letters of George Wyndham ", pp. 81-85. 



26 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Antony (afterwards Lord) MacDonnell, for the post 
of Under-Secretary at Dublin Castle. The original 
suggestion that Sir Antony should be invited to take 
the place seems to have come from Lord Lansdowne, 
who had known and appreciated his great work in 
India. The assistance which he gave, both in the 
preparation and conduct of the Land Bill and in the 
whole sphere of Irish Administration, proved of such 
value that in 1903 he was induced by Wyndham, 
with the approval of the King, to refuse the offer, 
which the Secretary of State for India was about to 
make to him, of the governorship of Bombay. 

MacDonnell had from the first, when his coopera- 
tion was asked and agreed to be given, made it per- 
fectly clear that he had no affiliations or sympathies 
with the rank and file of the Tory Unionists. " An 
Irishman, a Roman Catholic, and a Liberal in poli- 
tics " was the description which he gave of himself 
to Wyndham, when he was appointed (with some 
misgivings on the part of Mr. Balfour) to become 
permanent head of the Irish Administration. 

Wyndham was a highly strung man, totally with- 
out the toughness and phlegm of the Anglo-Saxon 
temperament. In the session of 1904 his colleagues 
gave him no opportunities for the further pursuit of 
an Irish constructive policy. " I am undergoing," he 
writes, 8 " a phase of nausea at politics, nostalgia for 
poetry, and a lurch in that direction." He spent 
Whitsuntide in Paris, sitting for his bust to Rodin, 
" in the desire to keep touch with letters and 

" Wyndham ", p. 90. 



1904-1905 2 7 

sculpture, and so keep an escape way open from the 
dustiness and fustiness of politics." These were the 
premonitory symptoms of what the doctors call a 
" nervous breakdown ", and, when the autumn came, 
he fled from official business to Germany, leaving 
MacDonnell behind him with instructions not to 
forward any papers that could await his return. 7 

During his absence the Under-Secretary gave ac- 
tive help to Lord Dunraven and his associates in a 
body of " Moderates " calling themselves the " Irish 
Reform Association ", who issued a preliminary 
" manifesto " at the end of August, and near the 
end of September gave to the world a full-blown 
" Devolution " Scheme. It is not necessary to set 
out its details. 8 In the words of Lord Dunraven " it 
gave Ireland some control over finance, some incen- 
tive to economy . . . and some delegated legislative 
powers ", with the result that it exasperated almost 
equally both Nationalists and Unionists. It was de- 
nounced by Michael Davitt as a " wooden-horse 
stratagem." Sir Edward Carson declared that he 
preferred " the repeal of the Union to any such 
tampering." The scheme died on the day of its birth. 

MacDonnell had been careful to give the Chief 
Secretary full warning of the part he was taking in 
the matter. On September 10 he wrote to him: " I 
have helped and am helping Dunraven in the busi- 
ness." This letter was undoubtedly received and 
opened by Wyndham, who mislaid it; whether he 
even read it is doubtful; and it seems certain that 

7 " Wyndham ", p 91. 8 Ibid., pp. 92-93. 



28 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

it entirely passed from his memory. 9 As soon as the 
" scheme " itself was given to the world, he at once 
wrote a letter to the Times (September 26) repudiat- 
ing it root and branch on behalf of the Government 
and himself. 

The Cabinet conveyed a mild censure to Sir A. 
MacDonnell, whose conduct in the matter, from first 
to last, seems to have been quite irreproachable. 
Wyndham, but for whose carelessness, which may 
be excused by the state of his health, the storm 
would never have arisen, stuck, as any gentleman in 
the circumstances was bound to do, by his subordi- 
nate. The whole pack of Irish Unionism was in full 
cry, scenting a " conspiracy ", and calling for the 
brush, one day of MacDonnell, and the next of the 
Chief Secretary himself. Wyndham made a confused, 
intricate and unconvincing defence in the House of 
Commons, which left the impression even upon not 
unfriendly minds that (as I said in the debate) 
" there was a mystery not wholly cleared up." The 
controversy continued with growing heat and even 
venom, and early in March (1905) Wyndham sent 
in his resignation. There can be no doubt that the 
state of his health at the time unfitted him to carry 
on the work of administration. But he declined to 
make that the ground of his retirement. His real 
reason was apparently that " stated to one of his 
most intimate friends " at the time: 

" I must insist on resigning; not because of health, 
not because of MacDonnell, but because my policy 

9 " Wyndham ", p. 97. 




Photoraph by Elliott & Fry. Ltd. 
THE LATE GEORGE WYNDHAM 



1904-1905 2 9 

which is not the policy of the Reform Associa- 
tion cannot proceed now. ... I will not see con- 
cession after concession made to people from whom 
I differ." 10 

It is not difficult to identify the " people from 
whom I differ." But what did he mean by " my 
policy? " 

His resignation was accepted, and announced (in 
somewhat frigid terms) by the Prime Minister to 
the House of Commons (March 6). He was suc- 
ceeded by a true blue Tory Mr. Walter Long. 

During the remainder of the session the Govern- 
ment underwent a series of those checks and dis- 
appointments, petty in themselves, which so often 
presage the approach of the end. 

A great historic figure was removed from the scene 
by the death of Sir William Harcourt on September 
30, 1904. The Liberal Old Guard suffered another 
severe personal loss in the disabling illness which fell 
upon Lord Spencer in the autumn of 1905, and which 
lasted until his death in August, 1910." 

It may, therefore, be the appropriate place for a 
brief reference to one who played at moments a 
conspicuous, and always a most dignified and honour- 
able, part on the political stage. 

C.-B., who was a shrewd and by no means a 
sentimental judge of men, had a higher regard and 
affection for Spencer than for any of his colleagues. 

10 " Wyndham ", p 104. 

11 See " Campbell-Bannerman ", II, 179. 



30 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Superficially the two men had little in common. The 
one belonged by birth and all the associations of his 
youth and early manhood to the Scottish bourgeoisie. 
He had acquired more than a tincture of classical 
scholarship both at Glasgow University and at Cam- 
bridge; had made himself familiar by travel with 
most of the European countries; was widely read, 
especially in French literature; spoke the French 
language with fluency and precision; was in a real 
sense a Cosmopolitan, and yet retained to the end 
of his life a tenacious and predominant interest in 
the soil and the people from which he sprang. 
Spencer was a patrician, with a distinguished pedi- 
gree and large ancestral estates; without literary 
accomplishments or interests; fond of the open air, 
the Master for years of one of the most famous packs 
of hounds in the English shires; with few gifts of 
expression either in speech or in writing; bred in the 
pure Whig tradition; a man of unquailing courage, 
of cool, shrewd judgment and the finest sense of 
honour and public duty; almost the last, if not the 
last, of the Grands Seigneurs. As I have said before, 12 
when Mr. Gladstone for the last time resigned the 
office of Prime Minister, he was prepared, if Queen 
Victoria had asked his advice, to name Spencer as, 
in his judgment, the person best fitted to be his 
successor. 

He and Campbell-Bannerman were first brought 
into close personal and official relations when the 
latter was invited to succeed Sir G. Trevelyan as 

12 See ante, Vol. I, p. 244. 



1904-1905 3i 

Chief Secretary for Ireland in October, 1884. It was 
not on the face of it a tempting offer. C.-B. had no 
first-hand knowledge of Ireland, where the adminis- 
trative situation was still one of difficulty and dan- 
ger. The Viceroy was a member of the Cabinet, the 
Chief Secretary was not, and yet it was his daily task 
to be called upon in the House of Commons to ex- 
plain and defend, against the pertinacious and vigi- 
lant scrutiny of the most highly organized body of 
guerillas that Parliament has ever seen, every act 
and omission, great or small, of the Irish Govern- 
ment. Spencer came over to Scotland himself to 
press upon C.-B. the acceptance of Mr. Gladstone's 
request. No wonder that he at first refused. " I 
know," he wrote (October 14, 1884) to Spencer, 
" the limit of my own capacities, and I should be 
greatly afraid that I should fail to discharge my 
duties successfully." And he adds the significant 
words: " At the same time I confess I should be 
hampered by want of belief in the system which I 
was called upon to defend." 13 Lord Spencer, how- 
ever, persisted in his appeal, to which C.-B. felt 
bound to yield, and the partnership between the two 
men began and lasted through months of infinite 
and ceaseless care, until the fall of the Gladstone 
Government in the following June. Events showed 
that C.-B. was right to take the chance; he became 
for the first time, during those months, a distinctive 
figure in the House of Commons; and his keen hu- 
mour and imperturbable temper made him an in- 

18 " Campbell-Bannerman ", I, 59-60. 



32 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

valuable asset to his colleagues and his chief. " I 
shall be very sorry," wrote Spencer, " that our offi- 
cial relations should close. They have been delight- 
ful to me, and I cannot thank you too much for the 
confidence you have placed in me, and the cordial 
and generous way you have worked with me." 14 As 
Mr. Spender truly says: C.-B.'s friendship and ad- 
miration for Lord Spencer remained to the end of 
his life one of the strongest of his political attach- 
ments. They were bound together by a native affinity 
of character. 

14 " Campbell-Bannerman ", p 87. 



CHAPTER V 

THE END OF THE UNIONIST REGIME 



T, 



HE political situation was, in the autumn of 
1905, to all appearance in the highest degree con- 
fused and uncertain. The Liberals, notwithstanding 
the discredit into which the Government had fallen, 
had domestic troubles of their own. The Free Trade 
army which Mr. Chamberlain's propaganda had by 
antagonism filled not only with recruits, but with a 
spirit of aggressive vitality, now numbered in its 
ranks many who were lukewarm, and not a few who 
remained hostile, to Irish Home Rule. After much 
discussion with colleagues, including Sir E. Grey and 
myself, C.-B. adopted for the next Parliament what 
was called at the time the " step by step " policy, 
" always on condition that the steps should lead up 
to and be consistent with, the final goal of a Parlia- 
ment in Dublin." * This was the gist of his famous 
speech at Stirling (November 23, 1905), as appears 
from the following extract: 

" If I were asked for advice which is not likely, 
perhaps by an ardent Irish Nationalist, I would 
say: ' Your desire is, as mine is, to see the effective 
management of Irish affairs in the hands of a rep- 

1 " Campbell-Bannerman ", II, 181. 



34 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

resentative Irish Authority. If I were you I would 
take it in any way I can get it, and if an instalment 
of representative control was offered to you or any 
administrative improvements, I would advise you 
thankfully to accept it, provided it was consistent 
with and led up to your larger policy.' I think that 
would be good advice. But I lay stress on the pro- 
viso it must be consistent with and lead up to the 
larger policy. To secure good administration is one 
thing, and a good thing in itself, but good govern- 
ment can never be a substitute for government by 
the people themselves. In the immediate future, 
whatever be the result of a general election, the time 
of Parliament will probably be mainly occupied by 
certain great questions social questions for the 
most part which call for treatment, and on which 
opinion among us is more than ripe. . . . Undoubt- 
edly they will take time. I trust that the opportunity 
of making a great advance on this question of Irish 
Government will not be long delayed, and when that 
opportunity comes, my firm and honest belief is that 
a greater measure of agreement than hitherto as to 
the ultimate solution will be found possible, and that 
a keener appreciation will be felt of the benefits 
which will flow to the entire community of British 
peoples throughout the world if Ireland, from being 
disaffected, disheartened, impoverished, and dis- 
united, takes her place, a strong, harmonious, and 
contented portion of the Empire." 

Probably through misunderstanding Sir Henry's 
intention and meaning, Lord Rosebery, two days 



END OF THE UNIONIST REGIME 35 

later at Bodmin, construed the speech as " the hoist- 
ing once more in its most pronounced form of the 
flag of Irish Home Rule ", and while disclaiming the 
desire to " utter one jarring note which can conflict 
with the unity of the Free Trade Party ", declared 
for himself personally, " emphatically, and explicitly, 
and once for all, that I cannot serve under that 
banner." 

It seems not improbable that this sharp passage 
of arms between the two Liberal leaders was one of 
the precipitating causes of Mr. Balfour's resigna- 
tion. 

But during these critical months things were go- 
ing much worse in the Unionist Party. On November 
3, Mr. Chamberlain, whose patience was perhaps 
not unnaturally exhausted, in a speech at Bir- 
mingham, declared that he would " rather be part of 
a powerful minority than a member of an impotent 
majority ", and demanded a Dissolution. He was 
backed up the Liberal Unionist Council at Bristol, 
where he compared the Unionist Party to an army 
which was being led into battle " on the principle 
that the lamest man should govern its march." Even 
the National Union of Conservative Associations was 
induced to pass (at Newcastle) a resolution in favour 
of the " whole-hog " policy. 2 

The situation had at last become intolerable, and 
Mr. Balfour found himself confronted with the al- 
ternatives of Resignation or Dissolution. He chose 
Resignation. 

2 " Campbell-Bannerman ", II, 188-189. 



36 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

I may be allowed to quote here what I have 
written elsewhere on this singular and momentous 
decision: 

Mr. Balfour was reputed at that time to be a 
past master of political tactics. He had been exhibit- 
ing for more than two years a series of adroit and 
astonishing feats in the art of plate-spinning. It was 
believed by many that, by the coup de theatre to 
which he now resorted, he would succeed in the 
operation, of which a previous Tory Prime Minister 
forty years before had boasted that of " dishing 
the Whigs." His idolaters would have scoffed at the 
idea that so wily a performer could be outmanoeuvred 
by the " plain and simple " Campbell-Bannerman. 
Yet this is precisely what happened. 3 

Mr. Balfour resigned on December 4. The King, 
who had developed friendly and indeed, confidential 
personal relations with Sir Henry in the earlier part 
of the autumn at Marienbad, at once sent for him. 
To the surprise and confutation of the political quid- 
nuncs, he accepted office without a moment's hesita- 
tion (December 5), and by midnight on the seventh, 
all the principal places in the new Government had 
been filled, not without some difficulties as to per- 
sonnel, which, however, yielded rapidly to the good 
will and sense of duty of those immediately con- 
cerned. 

There was one, and only one, conspicuous gap in 
the new combination. It did not include Lord Rose- 

8 " Studies and Sketches ", p. 205. 



END OF THE UNIONIST REGIME 37 

bery. With this notable exception all sections of the 
Liberal Party were represented in the new Cabinet, 
which was composed as follows: 

PRIME MINISTER CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN 

LORD CHANCELLOR *LOREBURN 

PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL *CREWE 

PRIVY SEAL RIPON 

CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER ASQUITH 

HOME SECRETARY *H. GLADSTONE 

FOREIGN SECRETARY *E. GREY 

COLONIAL SECRETARY *LGIN 

WAR SECRETARY *HALDANE 

INDIA SECRETARY J. MORLEY 

ADMIRALTY TWEEDMOUTH 

BOARD OF TRADE *LL. GEORGE 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD * BURNS 

DUCHY OF LANCASTER FOWLER 

AGRICULTURE *CARRINGTON 

POST OFFICE *BUXTON 

IRELAND BRYCE 

SCOTLAND *SINCLAIR 

EDUCATION *BIRRELL 

Those marked * had never sat in a Cabinet before. 
Five (Haldane, Lloyd George, Burns, Birrell, and 
Sinclair) were new to office. Of Lord Rosebery's 
surviving colleagues, Spencer was permanently dis- 
abled, Trevelyan and Acland had retired from par- 
liamentary life, and Shaw Lefevre was called to the 
House of Lords. 

Notable members of the new Government, who 



38 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

were not yet admitted to the Cabinet, were 
McKenna, W. Churchill, H. Samuel, Runciman, and 
L. Harcourt. 

It was acknowledged on all hands that in point 
of parliamentary ability the new Administration 
gave promise of exceptional strength. 

Parliament was at once dissolved, and the general 
election which followed in January, 1906, was one 
of the most remarkable in our modern history. The 
Unionists in the House of Commons were reduced 
from 369 to 157; the Liberals numbered 379. There 
were 83 Irish Nationalists and 51 so-called La- 
bour Members. The Liberals had, therefore, a ma- 
jority over all other parties combined of 88, and 
over the Unionists of 222. Of the " Labour " Mem- 
bers 20 were to all intents and purposes Liberal. 
A striking feature of the election was that the re- 
mainder (some 30 in number) were returned as a 
separate group of independent Labour men. Their 
chairman from 1906 to 1908 was Mr. Keir Hardie, 
who had sat in previous Parliaments; among the 
newcomers returned in 1906 was Mr. Ramsay Mac- 
Donald. 

The personal losses among the Unionist leaders 
were, up to that date, unprecedented. They included 
Mr. Balfour, Mr. Brodrick, Mr. Lyttelton, Mr. 
Gerald Balfour, Mr. Bonar Law, and Sir R. Finlay. 
Lord Hugh Cecil was defeated in a three-cornered 
contest at Greenwich, where he stood as a Unionist 
Free Trader against a Tariff Reformer and a Liberal. 



END OF THE UNIONIST REGIME 3 g 

Both Hicks Beach and Ritchie had gone to the House 
of Lords. 

An incidental feature of this historic election is 
that it witnessed the first active steps in the militant 
campaign of the " Suffragettes." 

We must now turn over a new leaf. 



CHAPTER VI 

A NEW ISSUE 



T, 



HE Fiscal controversy was determined by the 
general election of 1906, and ceased to be one of the 
living issues in British politics. It was in the course 
of a belated attempt to revive it in the new House 
of Commons that Campbell-Bannerman was moved 
to use the blunt expression, " enough of this foolery." 
(March 12, 1906.) 

In the same year the great figure which had 
brought it into being, and kept it alive, was removed 
from the battlefield. Mr. Chamberlain led the Op- 
position in the early part of the first session in Mr. 
Balfour's compulsory absence, with all his customary 
vigour and activity. Early in July he attended a 
series of celebrations in Birmingham to commemo- 
rate his seventieth birthday, and the completion of 
the thirtieth year of his parliamentary service. A 
few days later he was seized by a disabling malady 
from which he never recovered; and, though he re- 
mained a Member of the House of Commons, the 
only occasions on which he went there during the 
remaining eight years of his life were to take the 
Oath at the opening of the two new Parliaments of 
1910 and 1911. 

I may perhaps cite a few sentences from the 
speech which I made in the House of Commons in 



A NEW ISSUE 41 

moving its adjournment on the day of his funeral, 
exactly a month before the outbreak of the Great 
War. (July 6, 1914-) 

" Mr. Chamberlain was for thirty years in the 
forefront of our parliamentary life. That he never 
held the title of Leader of this House or of the Head 
of the Government is felt, by friends and foes alike, 
to be an incident of his career. ... To the arena of 
our political conflicts here Mr. Chamberlain brought 
not only a combination of most unusual gifts, but, 
what is rarer still, a new type of personality. When 
he entered the House in 1876 almost all the places 
of authority, both in the Legislature and in succes- 
sive administrations, were still held by men who had 
received their parliamentary training in the era of a 
restricted suffrage. Mr. Chamberlain was the pioneer 
of a new generation. He brought with him from the 
world of business and of municipal life, a freshness 
of outlook, a directness of purpose, and a certain 
impatience of conventional and circuitous methods. 
He may be said with truth to have introduced and 
perfected a new style of speaking, equally removed 
from that of either of the great masters of speech 
who then had the ear of the House and the nation 
Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Bright. If he kept as a rule, 
closer to the ground, he rarely digressed, and he 
never lost his way. . . . 

" As has been the case with not a few great men, 
speech, the fashion and mode of his speech, was with 
him the expression and revelation of character. In 
that striking personality vivid, masterful, resolute, 



42 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

tenacious there were no blurred or nebulous out- 
lines, there were no relaxed fibres, there were no 
moods of doubt and hesitation, there were no pauses 
of lethargy. . . . 

" There are certain characteristics stamped on his 
work which are independent of the vicissitudes of 
political judgment, and some of which I think are 
the more worthy of remark because he was a man of 
severely practical aims. First, I note genuine sym- 
pathy which never failed him with the precarious lot 
of those who in one way or another fall victims to 
the stress and strain of our social and industrial life. 
Another is the imaginative quality which suffused 
and coloured, not only his language, but his ideas 
when he confronted the larger issues of national 
policy. Lastly, may I not say, no statesman of our 
own or perhaps of any time surpassed him in the two 
great qualities of confidence and courage con- 
fidence, buoyant and unperturbed, in the justice of 
his cause; courage, persistent and undismayed, in its 
steadfast pursuit. . . . 

" Though he was an unsparing he was always a 
generous antagonist, and I rejoice to remember that 
we never ceased to be friends. It was the will of 
Providence that the closing years of his life should be 
darkened by a great affliction. The hero of countless 
fights in the open field was called upon to show that 
he had also the passive courage which can face with 
undimmed eyes the most tragic fate that can befall 
a man of action." 



A NEW ISSUE 43 

The most pressing problems which confronted the 
new Government and Parliament were to be found 
in South Africa: the future status of the two defeated 
Republics, and the best method of handling the ques- 
tion of Chinese Labour. The grant of responsible 
self-government to the Transvaal and the Orange 
River Colony, though vehemently denounced by the 
Opposition at the time as a dangerous and reckless 
experiment, is now universally acknowledged to have 
been a far-sighted and statesmanlike measure. The 
new Transvaal Government decided that the Labour 
Ordinance should not be reenacted, and in June, 
1907, Mr. Churchill the Under-Secretary for the 
Colonies was able to say: " We have reached the 
end of Chinese labour." 

A detailed and authoritative account of these 
transactions is to be found in Mr. Spender's " Life of 
Campbell-Bannerman." l The debates enabled Mr. 
Churchill to enrich the parliamentary vocabulary 
with a useful periphrasis: " terminological inexacti- 
tude." 2 

A new issue was almost immediately raised, when 
the Liberal Government with its unexampled ma- 
jority, fresh from the decisive verdict of the con- 
stituencies, began the attempt to carry into law the 
projects to which it was pledged. So far as legislation 
is concerned, the history of Parliament from 1906 to 
1911 is the record of a protracted and persistent 
struggle between the representative and the non- 

i Vol. II, Chapter XXIX. 2 February 22, 1906. 



44 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

representative Chambers. It will be well, before 
dealing with particular measures, to survey in its 
broader aspects the field of controversy. 

Mr. Balfour, on the morrow of his own electoral 
defeat at Manchester, made a speech (Nottingham, 
January 15, 1906) to a Unionist demonstration which 
struck the note of challenge. It was, he said, the 
bounden duty of each one whom he addressed, to 
do his best to see that " the great Unionist Party 
should still control, whether in power or whether in 
Opposition, the destinies of this great Empire" 

This was, in effect, a claim that a party which 
had just been almost contemptuously repudiated by 
the electorate, should still, through the only agency 
at its disposal, the House of Lords, reassert and 
retain its political predominance. A more cautious 
politician, the Duke of Devonshire, adopted a more 
moderate tone. Speaking a month later (February 
22) in the House of Lords, he said: 

" During the last ten years the opinions on most 
political questions of the majority in both Houses 
have been in tolerably close agreement, and your 
Lordships have had little to do more than to give 
your assent to measures sent up from the other House, 
or to introduce comparatively unimportant amend- 
ments in those measures. This position is now, as a 
result of the election, fundamentally altered. It 
cannot be denied that on most political questions 
the opinions of the majority of the House of Com- 
mons are not in harmony with, but are opposed to, 
the opinions held by the great majority of this House. 



A NEW ISSUE 45 

That difference in the political opinions represented 
in the two Houses will no doubt, must, no doubt, 
find its expression in the measures which will be sent 
to you from the other House of Parliament; and it 
will be for your Lordships and the leaders of this 
House to consider how far it may be wise, how far 
it may be prudent, how far it may be the duty of this 
House, to exercise its constitutional rights in relation 
to those measures. I feel perfectly confident that the 
advice which will be given to your Lordships 7 House 
will be wise and statesmanlike, and will be based to 
a very great extent on the wise and statesmanlike 
advice which on more than one occasion was given 
to this House by the late Lord Salisbury. But, in my 
opinion, a great deal depends not only on the treat- 
ment of Bills that may come up from the other House, 
but on what may be the constructive policy adopted 
by the Unionist Party when at any future time it 
returns to power." 

As time went on, it became increasingly clear that 
it was Mr. Balfour's, and not the Duke's advice, 
which was to sway the counsels of the Unionist Party. 

Though it involves some anticipation of events, 
I think this is the appropriate place to set out a 
summary of the situation as it gradually developed, 
in a memorandum which I wrote when it had reached 
a critical stage in 1910. 

" There are about 600 Members of the House of 
Lords, of whom 26 sit on the Episcopal Bench, and 
are not ostensibly Party politicians. Of the remain- 
ing 570 or 580, it is probably within the mark to say 



46 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

that 500 belong to the Conservative or Unionist 
Party. It is true that a considerable number of peers 
rarely attend or vote, but in an emergency they 
respond with a good deal of alacrity to the Party 
Whip. . . . 

" It follows that difficulties between the two 
Houses were only likely to arise when the electors 
returned a Liberal majority to the House of Com- 
mons, and put a Liberal Government in power. In 
1884 an acute crisis was developed over the Franchise 
Bill, and a constitutional readjustment was only 
avoided by a compromise, the history of which, and 
of the parts played by the Crown and the leaders of 
the two parties, is told in detail in Lord Morley's 
' Life of Gladstone.' Ten years later, under the 
Liberal Government which held office from 1892 to 
1895, grave differences again manifested themselves 
between the two Houses. But the Liberal majority 
in the House of Commons was at that time a very 
small one including the Irish Nationalists, it did 
not exceed forty and it had not behind it popular 
opinion in Great Britain. Nevertheless, Mr. Glad- 
stone in the last speech which he delivered in the 
House of Commons in the spring of 1894, thought it 
necessary to use these words: c In some way or other 
a resolution will have to be found for this tremendous 
contrariety and incessant conflict upon matters of 
high principle and profound importance between the 
representatives of the people and those who fill a 
nominated Chamber.' 

" The general elections of 1895 and 1900 gave the 



A NEW ISSUE 47 

Unionist Party in each case a substantial majority, 
with the natural consequence that for ten years 
(1895-1905) there was no occasion of conflict be- 
tween the two Houses, and the Constitutional ques- 
tion lay dormant. 

" It was reawakened into restless and vigorous life 
in the next four years. The general election of 
January, 1906, gave the Liberal Party in the House 
of Commons an overwhelming majority, not only 
over the Unionists, but over all other sections com- 
bined. That majority set to work with earnestness 
and assiduity to secure legislative embodiment for 
the pledges which its Members had given to their con- 
stituents. In a few instances, of which the Trade 
Disputes Bill is the most conspicuous, the Lords 
allowed proposals which they disliked to pass into 
law. But as regards by far the larger part of the 
important contentious measures, introduced by the 
Liberal Government, and sanctioned by unexampled 
majorities in the House of Commons, the history of 
the years 1906-1909 is one of almost perpetual con- 
troversy between the two Houses, and of a series of 
defeats inflicted by the non-representative upon the 
representative Chamber." 

In 1 the following chapters, a brief narrative is 
attempted of the different stages of the controversy. 



T, 



CHAPTER VII 
1906 



HE first serious conflict between the new House 
of Commons and the House of Lords arose out of the 
Education Bill of 1906, which was introduced by Mr. 
Birrell on behalf of the Government in April. Its 
main objects were to put an end to the dual system 
created by the Act of 1902; to secure that every 
school maintained out of rates and taxes should be 
under the exclusive management and control of the 
representative local authority; to abolish religious 
tests and the obligation to give denominational 
teaching, in the case of all teachers appointed by the 
authority, and paid out of public funds; to permit 
" Cowper Temple " teaching in the " provided " 
schools; and in the " transferred " schools to give 
facilities for special denominational instruction, but 
not by the regular teachers. 

The Bill was strenuously and even bitterly opposed 
as unfair to the denominational schools; as a prac- 
tical endowment of Nonconformity; and as a stepping 
stone to secularization. But, notwithstanding the 
alliance of the Irish Nationalists with the regular 
Opposition, the second and third readings were 
carried in the House of Commons by majorities of 



1906 49 

about two hundred. On the third reading Mr. Bal- 
four gave what came to be called his " signal " to the 
House of Lords, when he remarked that " members 
must have begun to feel that the real discussion must 
be elsewhere ", and that " it is in the highest degree 
improbable that the Bill will come back in the shape 
in which it leaves us." 

The Bill was conducted with conspicuous ability 
and tact by Lord Crewe in the House of Lords, where, 
however, it was completely transformed. It came 
back to the Commons, in the picturesque language 
of Mr. Birrell, a " miserable, mangled, tortured, 
twisted tertium quid" The question of special de- 
nominational instruction and of the functions and 
duties, in regard to it, of the state-paid teachers, was 
the main bone of contention. 

There were negotiations and attempts to arrive at 
a compromise between the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury and Lord Lansdowne on the one side, and the 
Prime Minister, Lord Crewe, and myself on the other, 
but the chasm of opinion was found to be too wide to 
be bridged. On December 12 the House of Com- 
mons the Nationalists now supporting the Govern- 
ment referred back the Lords' amendments in 
globo, by a majority of more than three hundred; on 
the nineteenth the Lords insisted on their amend- 
ments by a majority of 132 to 52, the Duke of 
Devonshire voting in the minority; and the following 
day, in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister 
moved to discharge the order, and the Bill per- 
ished. 



So FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

In the same session a similar fate befell the Plural 
Voting Bill, introduced in May by Mr. L. Harcourt, 
who made his maiden speech from the Treasury 
Bench; a rare, though not unique occurrence in the 
history of the House of Commons. The third reading 
was carried in December by a majority of more than 
three to one, but a week later the Bill was summarily 
rejected in the Lords by 143 to 43. 

The nature and the grounds of the resentment 
which these proceedings had, by the end of the first 
session of the new Parliament, aroused in the Liberal 
Party, cannot be better indicated than in the follow- 
ing sentences from the Prime Minister's speech in the 
House of Commons when he moved that the order 
for the Education Bill be discharged (December 20, 
1906): 

" Now, the question we have to ask ourselves is 
this: Is the General Election and its result to go for 
nothing? This Education question has been before 
the country since 1902, and even earlier. It has been 
discussed and re-discussed. The Act of 1902 has been 
the cause of intense bitterness and dissatisfaction. 
The grievance created by it and the flaws in its ad- 
ministrative structure are such that there can be no 
peace, no settlement, no ordered progress, in the work 
of education until the law is altered from its present 
condition. No one denies it. No one denies that that 
was the opinion which helped to return the great ma- 
jority sent by the constituencies this time last year. 
No one denies the strength of the reflection of that 
opinion in this House. Who could deny it, when these 



1906 51 

very amendments were returned to the House of 
Lords but a few days ago by a majority of 309? 

" Well, Sir, at the bidding of a Party which was 
condemned at the General Election, condemned as 
no Party was ever condemned before, the House of 
Lords has obliterated all this. I desire to speak with 
perfect moderation and calmness, but it is difficult to 
reconcile such action on the part of the other House 
with that calm and impartial revision of hasty legis- 
lation, which is assumed to be the greatest merit of 
that Assembly. Perhaps it is harder to see how that 
action justifies the claim that they are the true inter- 
preters of the feelings and desires of the people of this 
country. But even if it were so, what is the good of 
maintaining a Representative system? It is not as 
if this House of Commons were old, stale, and worn 
out; if that were so, there would be some reason we 
could understand in the argument; but there is no 
reason in the argument to-day. It is plainly intoler- 
able, Sir, that a Second Chamber should, while one 
Party in the State is in power, be its willing servant, 
and when that Party has received an unmistakable 
and emphatic condemnation by the country, the 
House of Lords should then be able to neutralize, 
thwart, and distort the policy which the electors have 
approved. That is the state of things that for the 
moment for the nonce we must submit to. A 
settlement of this grave question of Education has 
been prevented, and for that calamity we know, and 
the country knows, upon whom the responsibility lies. 

" But, Sir, the resources of the British Consti- 



52 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

tution are not wholly exhausted, the resources of the 
House of Commons are not exhausted, and I say with 
conviction that a way must be found, a way will be 
found, by which the will of the people expressed 
through their elected representatives will be made to 
prevail" 



CHAPTER VIII 

1907 



IT 



is not necessary to review in any detail the legis- 
lation, actual or attempted, of 1907. Mr. Harcourt 
succeeded in carrying through both Houses a Small 
Holdings and Allotments Bill for England, but the 
acute scent of the Lords detected revolutionary germs 
in Mr. Sinclair's proposals for the extension of the 
crofter system to the Lowlands, and for land valu- 
ation in Scotland, the one of which had to be with- 
drawn by the Government, while the other was sum- 
marily rejected. 1 The conflict between the two 
Houses was therefore renewed, and the Government 
found it necessary to formulate definite proposals for 
bringing the matter to an issue. There was complete 
agreement among its members that a reform in the 
composition of the House of Lords was necessary, and 
indeed overdue. But they were equally agreed that 
before that delicate and thorny task was attempted, 
there must be a revision and curtailment of its 
powers. As to the form which such a change should 
take, there was for a time much difference and even 
contrariety of opinion, but in the end the Govern- 
ment at Birmingham adopted the plan of what came 

1 Both were again passed through the Commons in 1908, but perished 
from disagreement in the two Houses. 



54 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

to be known as the Suspensory Veto, suggested many 
years before by Mr. John Bright, 2 strongly favoured 
by the Prime Minister himself, and afterwards given 
statutory effect by the Parliament Act of 1911. 

Accordingly, on June 24, 1907, Sir H. Campbell- 
Bannerman introduced a resolution in the House of 
Commons which declared that " in order to give effect 
to the will of the people, as expressed by their elected 
representatives, the power of the other House to alter 
or reject Bills passed by this House must be restricted 
by law, so as to secure that, within the limits of a 
single Parliament, the final decision of the Commons 
should prevail." After a debate which lasted three 
days the resolution was carried by 432 to 147. A 
Labour Amendment, calling for the abolition of the 
House of Lords, and supported by a number of 
Radicals and Nationalists, was rejected by 315 to 
100. 

I may quote a passage from the speech which I 
made in the course of the discussion to show the 
stage which the controversy had reached: 

" Personally I have been a slow and, to some de- 
gree, even a reluctant convert to the necessity of this 
particular method of dealing with the problem. I 
have cast about as which of us has not? during 
all these years of Opposition in this House, to try and 
discover some way of escape from the situation, 
which almost every speaker in this debate, on which- 
ever side of the House he sits, has acknowledged to be 
indefensible, that would at one and the same time 

8 August 4, 1884. 



IQ07 55 

give effect to the democratic principle that the will 
of the people must prevail, and do the least practical 
violence to our constitutional usages. I have even 
scandalous as I am sure the avowal will seem to some 
friends behind me at one time coquetted with the 
Referendum. But hoping, as many of us have hoped, 
that a solution could be found in the shape of what 
I may call a constitutional modus vivendi a Con- 
vention similar to the Conventions of which both our 
Common law and our Parliamentary law are full, not 
written on paper, not defined in the exact language 
of an Act of Parliament hoping for the establish- 
ment of such a modus vivendi (a reestablishment, let 
me remind the House, of a practice which actually 
prevailed sixty or even fifty years ago, when the 
House of Lords submitted to the sagacious guidance 
of the Duke of ( Wellington, Lord Aberdeen, and 
other statesmen of the past), the experiences of re- 
cent years have convinced me that that is an unat- 
tainable hope. Yes; but why? Because it would be 
the essence of such an understanding that the House 
of Lords admittedly, in the language of the 
Leader of the Opposition, a subordinate partner, 
admittedly powerless to control executive action or 
financial policy should, in the sphere of legislation 
also, be content with the functions of revision and 
consultation, and, if need arose, of reasonable delay. 
But has the House of Lords shown any disposition 
to accept such an understanding? It has fallen, un- 
fortunately, in these latter days into the hands of 
guides and leaders not necessarily, and not always, 



56 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

sitting within its own walls who have degraded it 
from the position of a revising Chamber, and in some 
sense an arbitral authority, and who have converted 
it, as everybody knows, into the docile and subservi- 
ent instrument of a single Party in the State. That 
is the crux of the whole problem. . . . The truth is 
that in practice the House of Lords gives effect to the 
will of the House of Commons when you have a Tory 
majority; the House of Lords frustrates the will of 
the House of Commons when you have a Liberal 
majority; and neither in the one case nor in the other 
does it consider what, indeed, it has no means of 
ascertaining the will of the people." 8 

8 House of Commons, June 26, 1907 



CHAPTER IX 

THE RECONSTRUCTED GOVERNMENT 

A HE closing months of Sir H. Campbell-Banner- 
man's life are fully described in Mr. Spender's biog- 
raphy, and nothing can fitly be added to his narra- 
tive. I hope that my judgment of him as man and 
statesman has been made clear in the preceding chap- 
ters. I will add here some words which I wrote in a 
review of the biography when it first appeared: 

I endeavoured after his (Campbell-Bannerman's) 
death in a speech in the House of Commons, which 
Mr. Spender has quoted in full, to give an estimate 
of him as I knew him. I have nothing to add to it 
now. His was by no means the simple personality 
which many people supposed ; it had its complexities 
and apparent incongruities, and, even to those who 
were most intimate with him, sometimes its baffling 
features. 1 But of all the men with whom I have been 
associated in public life, I put him as high as any in 
sense of duty, and in both moral and intellectual 
courage. Nothing can be truer or more character- 
istic of the man, than what he says of himself in a 
homely speech to his neighbours at Montrose, a few 
months before his death: 

1 I remember once, when there was a vacancy in a responsible and 
delicate office, suggesting to him the name of an intimate friend of his, 
whom I knew it would be personally most agreeable to him to promote. 
"No, no," he said, "that wouldn't do; X is maximus in minhnis, but 
minimus in maximts" 



58 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

" Altogether, I have no fault to find with anybody. 
And it is because I have no fault to find with anybody 
that I am where I am. ... It has not been by my 
seeking that I am where I am. ... An old friend of 
mine, Wilfrid Lawson, was accustomed to say: ' The 
man who walks on a straight road never loses his 
way/ Well, I flatter myself that I have walked on 
a pretty straight road, probably because it was easier, 
and accordingly I have not gone astray. I trust that 
that will be continued to the last, which cannot be 
long deferred now." 

He lay, disabled from taking any part in the active 
work of Government, from the middle of February, 
1908, to April 6, when his resignation, which both the 
King and his colleagues had done all in their power 
to prevent, was announced to the world. 2 During this 
protracted interregnum the political atmosphere was 
charged with speculation and gossip. In the middle 
of it (March 12) Mr. Morley records that he wrote 
as follows: 

Apart from the sore regret of every one of us at 
the disappearance of so gallant, honest, and experi- 
enced a Chief of our Party, with his extraordinary 
command of the majority in the House of Commons, 
more than one question of a rather delicate kind will 
fall to be settled. Not as to the succession to his 
immediate post. That has been tolerably decisively 
settled by circumstances. But of course the disap- 
pearance of the Prime Minister shifts the centre of 
gravity. As a Cabinet, we have been the most abso- 
lutely harmonious and amicable that ever was known, 

2 He died April 22. 



THE RECONSTRUCTED GOVERNMENT 59 

and I see no reason why the same frame of mind 
should not remain, for our future Parliamentary 
safety and for the advantage of the country. Only 
there will have to be a little readjustment of one or 
two offices; first, to keep the balance between the two 
wings of the Cabinet, the Liberal Leaguers on the one 
hand and the pro-Boers, for instance, on the other; 3 
second, to meet one or two strong, and indeed almost 
indefeasible claims." * 

On April 8, I was summoned by the King, who 
was at Biarritz, to form a new Administration, and I 
at once proceeded thither to kiss hands. I suggested 
various changes in the distribution of offices, which, 
after full discussion, were all approved by the King. 
The most important of them were the appointment of 
Mr. Lloyd George to the Exchequer; the super- 
session of Lord Elgin by Lord Crewe at the Colonial 
Office, and of Lord Tweedmouth by Mr. McKenna 
at the Admiralty; and the admission to the Cabinet 
of Mr. Churchill as President of the Board of Trade 
and of Mr. Runciman as President of the Board of 
Education. 

Outside the Cabinet, Colonel Seely joined the Gov- 
ernment as Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and 
Mr. Masterman as Parliamentary Secretary to the 

8 By way of illustrating what Morley probably had in his mind, 
there is a letter (published in the " Life of Lord Ripon ", II, 303) written 
some months later (October, 1908) to Lord Ripon, on his retirement, by 
Lord Loreburn, the Lord Chancellor: " C.-B. and Bryce and you were 
on the formation of the Government the men I most agreed with and 
relied upon. It is a very different Government to-day from what it 
was three years ago. But I will not dwell on these things, and will 
hope for the best, and recall how much there still is in the Cabinet that 
inspires hope " * " Recollections ", II, 248-249. 



60 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Local Government Board, and Doctor Macnamara 
was promoted to be Secretary to the Admiralty. 

To the world at large, undoubtedly the most in- 
teresting feature in the new arrangements was the 
grant of a Viscounty to Mr. John Morley, who con- 
tinued to hold the India Office. How this came about 
is best told in his own words: 

It was on one afternoon at this time 5 that Asquith 
came to my official room at the House of Commons, 
and told me that he understood the King, then at 
Biarritz, would send for him to kiss hands as the new 
Head of the Government. " Yes, of course," I said, 
" there could be no thought of anything else, that is 
quite certain." He hoped that I should remain with 
him, and would like to know if I had any views for 
myself. " I suppose," I said, " that I have a claim 
from seniority of service for your place at the Ex- 
chequer, but I don't know that I have any special 
aptitude for it under present prospects; and I am 
engaged in an extremely important and interesting 
piece of work. As you know, my heart is much in it, 
and I should be sorry to break off. So, if you approve, 
I will stay at the India Office, and go to the House of 
Lords." " Why on earth should you go there? " 
" Because, though my eye is not dim, nor my natural 
force abated, I have had a pretty industrious life, and 
I shall do my work all the better for the comparative 
leisure of the other place." He made no sort of diffi- 
culty; so after cordial words of thanks from him and 
good wishes from me, we parted. 6 

To the Viceroy, Lord Minto, he writes a little later 
(April 15): 

Ie. t early in April. 6 " Recollections ", II, 251. 




Photograph by Htnnes of London 



THE RIGHT HON. J. CAMPBELL- 
BANNERMAN 



THE RECONSTRUCTED GOVERNMENT 61 

By this time you will probably know that I have 
taken the plunge and gone to the other House. My 
inclination, almost to the last, was to bolt from public 
life altogether, for I have a decent library of books 
still unread, and in my brain a page or two still un- 
written. Before the present Government comes to 
an end, the hand of time will in any case have brought 
the zest for either reading or writing down near to 
zero, or beyond. I suppose, however, one should do 
the business that lies to one's hand. 7 

Some months later, when he had settled down to 
his new status, he writes, in a mood of passing discon- 
tent, to the same correspondent 8 expressing his regret 
that he did not remain in the House of Commons to 
deal as " chief goose-herd " with what he described as 
" the honest Liberal fools and the baser sort of 
Unionist ditto." " An Under-Secretary cannot put 
the fear of God into their silly hearts, as the Secretary 
of State can at least try to do. However, I am up 
aloft, and there I am happy to stop; at the same time 
I have told Asquith that there is to be no playing with 
India to please the geese." 9 

Sir Henry Fowler was at the same time raised to 
the peerage as Viscount Wolverhampton; he took his 
seat in the Upper House the same day as John 
Morley, and later on in the year became President 
of the Council. King Edward, who shared Queen 
Victoria's personal regard for Fowler, while assenting 
to his appointment to this dignified post, wrote to me, 

7 " Lord Mmto ", by John Buchan, p 252. 

8 Ibid, p. 280. 

9 A perhaps superfluous caution. 



62 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

expressing deep regret at losing his services in the 
Chancellorship of the Duchy. He was now nearing 
his eightieth year, and his days of active political 
work were over. He was in many ways a remarkable 
man, and his speech on the Indian Cotton Duties 
(February, 1895) was a parliamentary achievement 
of a very high order. With his rugged granitic face, 
his organ-like voice, and his air of moral authority, he 
seemed to have been cut out by Nature for a leader 
of men. 10 A certain constitutional timidity, perhaps 
due to physical causes, stood in his way. I was much 
attached to him, as I believe he was to me. 

10 " Father always let us have his own way," says his gifted daughter 
in her admirable " Life of Lord Wolverhampton." 



Tc 



CHAPTER X 

ARMY AND FINANCE, 1 905-1908 



O gather up what remains to be told of the story 
of the Campbell-Bannerman Government, omitting 
for reasons which I have given in the Preface what it 
did and attempted in the domain of foreign affairs, I 
must pass in brief review its military and financial 
record. 

The most striking, and in its international conse- 
quences one of the most momentous, of its adminis- 
trative achievements, was the reconstruction of the 
Army, begun in these years, and subsequently de- 
veloped and completed by Mr. Haldane. His first 
object was to provide what had been so lament- 
ably lacking on the outbreak of the Boer War a 
professional Army, limited in numbers, but so organ- 
ized as to be a mobile striking force, ready in all its 
branches for any emergency overseas, and backed 
and supplemented by adequate reserves. Next, he 
aimed at bringing into existence a Second Line 
which came to be known as the Territorial Army 
formed on a county basis, whose function it would be 
to prevent or repel raids, to garrison fortresses, and 
to be capable, if the need arose, not as a matter of 
compulsion, but of voluntary choice, of serving 
abroad. 



64 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

The first step was taken in 1906 when the so-called 
" Expeditionary Force " of 150,000 men began to be 
organized, to consist of six Infantry Divisions, one 
Cavalry Division, and all the necessary comple- 
ments in Engineers, Artillery, Transport, Army 
Service, Medical, and other auxiliaries, for action 
overseas. 

As regards stores, again, it is well known that 
during the South African War the Cabinet had laid 
down definite scales of war reserves (" Mowatt 
Reserves ") and required two military members of 
the Army Council to give annually to Parliament a 
formal certificate that these reserves were maintained 
intact. As new units took their places in the Expe- 
ditionary Force during the period of its organization, 
the application to them of the authorized scales of 
reserves naturally increased the total mass of stores 
so held. 

The general result is thus summarized by Sir 
Charles Harris, who was, in those years, at the head 
of the financial side of the War Office: 

" In fact, the Estimates and Establishments of the 
Army for the whole period 1906-1914 exhibit, for the 
first time in our history, a coherent work of real 
organization for war, by which the traditional and 
fortuitous establishments of the several arms were 
replaced by proportions scientifically calculated to 
produce, from the men and money available, the 
divisions, and the cavalry division, of the Old Con- 
temptibles. By these changes the Expeditionary 
Force of 25,000 men, which we had before the South 



ARMY AND FINANCE, 1905-190$ 6$ 

African War, was increased to 160,000 Regulars, 
with organized Divisions of Territorials in Second 
Line. 

Without going into technical details, the actud 
working of the new plan can be succinctly stated in 
the words of the same authority, whose impartiality 
and competence are beyond dispute, in a communi- 
cation to the Times (after the death of Lord Ypres) 
in May, 1925. Sir Charles Harris writes as follows: 

After the " Esher " reorganization of the War 
Office, the preparation of Army Estimates was put 
on a basis enabling responsibility for the allocation 
of funds, within the total, to be definitely assigned. 
The relative priority of different forms of expendi- 
ture was determined by the members of the Army 
Council (other than the Secretary of State) sitting as 
a formal Estimate Committee with the C.I.G.S. in the 
chair, and the Estimates so prepared were presented 
to Parliament over the signature of all the members 
of Council. They show that the actual regimental 
establishments of the Regulars in 1908 totalled 177,- 
366 officers and men, and in 1914, 177,271, the main 
difference in details being that in the latter year room 
had been found within the total for a Flying Corps 
of 1,005. As regards money, while the expenditure on 
Territorial Forces rose from 2,243,000 in 1908-1909 
to 3,086,000 (estimated) in 1914-1915, the total 
expenditure on the Army rose from 26,859,000 to 
28,845,000 (estimated), the latter figure including 
1,000,000 for aviation; so that the whole provision 
for that new service and the increase for the Terri- 
torials were found without taking a penny from the 
rest of the Army. 



66 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

In Finance, without going into the details of 
the Budgets of 1906 and 1907, I may summarize 
their general result by a quotation from a speech 
which I made at Ladybank on October 19, 
1907: 

" The Government have substantially reduced the 
cost of the Army and Navy; they have put an end to 
the profligate practice of borrowing money for Mili- 
tary and Naval works; they have made the largest 
reduction ever made during two years in the National 
Debt; they have abolished the Coal duties; they have 
lowered the Tea duty; they have removed the 
greatest and most genuine grievance of the Income- 
tax payer, by establishing discrimination between 
incomes which are the result of permanent invest- 
ments and incomes which are earned." (This distinc- 
tion, made in 1907, had as its immediate effect that 
with an income tax at is., only gd. was to be charged 
on earned income.) 

By the Budget of 1908, Old Age Pensions on a non- 
contributory basis, and financed not out of local, but 
wholly out of central funds, were at last definitely 
made part of the financial obligations of the country; 
while the cost of the necessaries of life was further 
lightened by the reduction of the sugar duty, and 
unprecedented provision was made for the redemp- 
tion of debt. 

Owing to my having only a few weeks before re- 
linquished the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
the Budget of 1908 was presented by me. Mr. Lloyd 
George, the new Chancellor, took charge of the sub- 



ARMY AND FINANCE, 1905-1908 67 

sequent stages, authorizing and setting out the terms 
and conditions of the Old Age Pensions scheme. 

An Amendment to the second reading of the Bill 
was proposed in the following terms: 

" While it is desirable that the State should organ- 
ize aid for the unfortunate by establishing and assist- 
ing a general system of insurance against the principal 
risks of life, it is unjust to spend taxpayers' money in 
giving subsidies to persons selected by arbitrary 
standards of age, income, and character." 

It was moved by Mr. Harold Cox (an Independent 
Liberal) and seconded by Lord Robert Cecil. 

The Amendment was rejected by 417 to 29. 



CHAPTER XI 

LICENSING: GOSCHEN: HARTINGTON 



T, 



HE first Session (1908) of the reconstructed 
Government developed a new phase in the contro- 
versy between the two Houses. 

A large part of the time of the House of Commons 
was given to the Licensing Bill, for which I made 
myself personally responsible, with the invaluable aid 
in the committee stage of two of my younger col- 
leagues, both of whom had before them brilliant 
careers Mr. Herbert Samuel, then Under-Secre- 
tary at the Home Office, and Sir Samuel Evans, the 
Solicitor-General. The object of the Bill was to 
secure the compulsory reduction of the number of 
public houses, according to a fixed ratio of popula- 
tion. Compensation for extinguished licenses was to 
be provided by a levy on the trade. And there was to 
be a time limit for the termination of all vested in- 
terests. The Bill was denounced as nugatory for its 
avowed purpose the promotion of temperance x 
and confiscatory in its operation. 

The rejection of the Bill was moved by Mr. Cave 
(since Lord Chancellor), and the second reading was 

1 In illustration of the argument that the number of public houses 
had little or nothing to do with the amount of drunkenness, Lord Salis- 
bury was reported to have made the whimsical comment that he did not 
feel any more inclined to sleepiness at Hatfield, where there were (say) 
fifty bedrooms, than at a seaside villa where there were a dozen. 



LICENSING: GOSCHEN: HARTINGTON 69 

carried by a majority of about 250. The committee 
stage lasted part of the summer and most of the 
autumn; some not inconsiderable concessions were 
made in the course of it; but the main lines of the 
Bill were not substantially changed; and it ultimately 
left the House of Commons on the third reading with 
a majority of 237. 

Its doom, however, was at once sealed at a private 
meeting of Unionist peers at Lansdowne House. A 
three days' debate on the second reading was allowed 
in the House of Lords, and on November 2 7 the Bill 
was summarily rejected without further examination 
by a majority of 272 to 96. As Lord Fitzmaurice 
said, the House gave it a " first-class funeral. A great 
number of noble lords have arrived who have not 
often honoured us with their presence." 

It is not necessary to comment further on this 
proceeding than to say that, while in the opinion 
of many, of whom I am one, it put back the cause of 
temperance reform in England for the best part of 
the lifetime of a generation, it undoubtedly did much 
to accelerate and embitter the inevitable constitu- 
tional crisis. 

Before I come to deal with the Budget of 1909 and 
its consequences, I must pause for a moment to dwell 
upon two great personal losses which in the years 
1907-1908, though they fell with direct and excep- 
tional severity upon the Unionist Party, sensibly im- 
poverished the resources of our public life. 

Lord Goschen died in February, 1907, and the 
Duke of Devonshire in March, 1908. 



70 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

I have already, in earlier chapters of this book, 
endeavoured from time to time to bring into relief 
the conspicuous and distinctive parts which were 
played at critical moments by each of these eminent 
men. 

They came from different social strata; their up- 
bringing, and the environment in which each of them 
was trained for public service, were as diverse as were 
the men themselves, not only in intellectual equip- 
ment, but in temperament and character. 

Goschen was of German origin. His grandfather 
was a famous publisher at Leipsic, and the intimate 
friend of Goethe and Schiller. His father had, early 
in the nineteenth century, migrated to London and 
founded in the City a great financial business. His 
own early school years were spent in Germany. At 
the age of fourteen he was sent to Rugby, where he 
soon came to the front and rose in time to the head of 
the school. He went on to Oxford, where he had a 
distinguished academic record, and none of his subse- 
quent honours gave him so much pleasure as his elec- 
tion, with general acclamation, on the death of Lord 
Salisbury in 1903, to the chancellorship of his old 
University. He had hardly more than begun his busi- 
ness career when, at the age of twenty-seven, he was 
made a Director of the Bank of England; five years 
later he was elected one of the Liberal members for 
the City; and, after only three years' service in the 
House of Commons, he was admitted, on the same 
day as Lord Hartington, to Lord Russell's Cabinet 
(January, 1866). He was still only thirty-five, and 




Photograph by Russell of London 
LORD GOSCHEN 



LICENSING: GOSCHEN: HARTINGTON 71 

was his biographer, Mr. Arthur Elliot, tells us 
known in the City as the " Fortunate Youth." Nor, 
judged by the ordinary tests, did he ever fall out of 
favour with Fortune. 

He became, in his time, a prominent member of 
Liberal, of Conservative, and of Unionist Cabinets, 
and during the brief interval in his career when, by 
his disinterested opposition to the extension of the 
county franchise, he had disabled himself from hold- 
ing political office in Mr. Gladstone's Government of 
1880, he was sent by his old Chief on a special mis- 
sion as Ambassador to the Sultan, and was offered 
the Viceroyalty of India, and the speakership of the 
House of Commons. 

I have already spoken of his prowess as a parlia- 
mentary debater. As a statesman, he will be remem- 
bered, not so much for any constructive achievement, 
as for the distinguished and formidable part which he 
took in two defensive campaigns: the first against 
Gladstone's Home Rule in 1886; the second against 
Chamberlain's Fiscal Policy in 1903-1905. Though 
not an orator of the first rank, he was a most expert 
dialectician, and a master of effective epigram. Some 
of the phrases which he coined enjoyed a wide cur- 
rency in their day: " I am not going to give a blank 
cheque to Lord Salisbury " ; " We must be ready to 
make our wills and do our duty " ; "I will be no 
party to a gamble with the food of the people." 

He was a man of broad culture, a devotee of the 
humanities, an indefatigable worker in the cause of 
higher education; a fighter who gave no quarter 



72 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

within the rules of the game; and withal one of the 
best of companions and most loyal of friends. 

The eighth Duke of Devonshire, who will be better 
known in history as Lord Hartington, belonged by 
birth to one of the ruling English families. Unlike 
Goschen, he had nothing but the bluest blood in his 
veins. He was by nature of a manly but lethargic, 
pleasure-seeking temperament; with none of the 
tastes and interests of a student or a connoisseur; and 
with what often seemed a slow-moving and even 
heavy-gaited mind. That he turned his main activi- 
ties into the channel of politics was almost an acci- 
dent, and was certainly not due to the promptings of 
personal ambition. Nor had he any natural gifts of 
speech, though, both in Parliament and on the plat- 
form, he came to rival in cogency and impressive- 
ness the most brilliant orators of his time. He was 
perhaps the best illustration in our recent history of 
the power of personality. 

Among the tributes which were paid to his memory 
in the House of Commons on his death, none was 
more felicitous than that of Mr. Balfour. He said 
that, of all the great statesmen he had known, the 
Duke was the most persuasive speaker: " because he 
never attempted to conceal the strength of the case 
against him " ; and " brought before the public in 
absolutely transparent and unmistakable terms, the 
very arguments he had been going through patiently 
and honestly, before he arrived at his conclusion." 
I was able on that same occasion to say, with perfect 
sincerity, that " in the closing years of his life he 



LICENSING: GOSCHEN: HARTINGTON 73 

commanded in a greater degree than perhaps any 
other public man the respect and confidence of men 
of every shade of opinion." And by what title? " By 
simplicity of nature, directness of purpose, intuitive 
insight into practical conditions, inflexible courage, 
and, above all, tranquil indifference to praise and 
blame, and absolute disinterestedness." 

In the political welter which was rapidly working 
up, England sorely missed these two great figures. 



PART FOUR 



CHAPTER XII 

THE BUDGET OF 1 909 (l) 



B 



>Y the Budget of 1909, the quarrel between the 
two Houses, of which the successive stages have been 
already described, was brought to a head. 

A large prospective deficit had to be made good, 
arising partly from the growing needs of naval de- 
fence, and still more from the demands of a costly 
programme of social reform, of which the scheme for 
Old Age Pensions was the first instalment, to be fol- 
lowed by provision for invalidity and unemployment 
insurance, and by development grants for roads, 
afforestation, and other national services. 

Mr. Lloyd George proposed to find the means for 
meeting these necessities of the present and the near 
future in the following ways: 

(i) By reducing the annual provision for the Debt 
from 28,000,000 to 25,000,000. Some such step 
had been foreshadowed in my Budget speech of the 
previous year: and as the real reduction of the dead- 
weight debt in the financial year 1908-1909 had 
amounted to no less than 15,500,000 and of the 
25,000,000 to be still applied to debt purposes about 
7,000,000 would be devoted to repayment of prin- 
cipal, there could be no serious question that this part 



78 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

of the new Budget was consistent with all the canons 
of sound finance. 

(2) By increasing the Income Tax on a graduated 
scale from gd. to is. 2d., and imposing a Super Tax 
(in the case of the larger incomes) on their excess 
over 3,000 per annum. This latter proposal was in 
accordance with the recommendations of a strong 
House of Commons committee presided over by Sir 
C. Dilkein 1906. 

(3) By a substantial addition to the Death Duties. 

(4) By an increase in the Duties on spirits, to- 
bacco and liquor licenses, and new taxes on petrol 
and motor cars. 

(5) By a set of four new Land Taxes, which would 
admittedly be relatively unproductive for the present, 
but which were defended as just in themselves and 
of progressive financial value. Of the four, the most 
important, and as it turned out the most contro- 
versial, were the tax on the Site Value of undeveloped 
land, and the Increment Duty on enhancements of 
Site Values. 

For the purpose of assessing these new taxes, there 
was to be a general valuation of land. 

It is not easy at this distance of time, and in the 
light of our later financial experiences, to realize the 
passionate resentment and the obstinate resistance 
which these proposals aroused. In a sense, as Mr. 
Lloyd George said in his opening speech, it was a 
" War Budget " ; for one of its main objects was " to 
raise money to wage implacable warfare against 
poverty and squalor." But, given that the money had 



THE BUDGET OF 1909 79 

to be raised^ unless both national defence and social 
reform were to be crippled and starved, it is difficult 
to see in the means actually proposed, any adequate 
ground for the outcry with which the country re- 
sounded for the best part of two years against Spolia- 
tion, Socialism and breaches of the Decalogue. Apart 
from the land taxes, though it might be argued that 
a disproportionate share of the new expenditure was 
thrown upon the direct as compared with the indirect 
taxpayer, there was nothing that, in principle, could 
not be abundantly justified by financial precedent. 

It was the land taxes, and perhaps still more the 
proposed valuation of land, which " set the heather 
on fire." Their immediate yield was estimated to be 
very small, but the alarmists saw in them a potential 
instrument for almost unlimited confiscation. Being 
supposed myself to be a financier of a respectable and 
more or less conservative type, I was, in the course of 
the debates, frequently challenged by Mr. Balfour 
and others to defend the new imposts, and especially 
the Undeveloped Land and the Increment Duties. 
I have undertaken in my time many more intractable 
dialectical tasks, and though I was fully alive to the 
mechanical difficulties involved, and perhaps not so 
sanguine as some of my colleagues as to the progres- 
sive productiveness of the taxes, I had never any 
doubt as to their equity in principle. The Increment 
Duty, in particular, applied only to the enhancement 
in the value of land which is not due to any enter- 
prise or expenditure on the part of the owner, but to 
the growth, and often to the actual expenditure, of 



8o FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the community. " Upon that added value " (I 
argued) " it is consistent with natural justice, with 
economic principle, and with sound policy, that the 
State should from time to time levy toll." 

Whatever judgment a dispassionate observer may 
now pronounce upon the merits of the case, there can 
be no doubt as to the genuineness of the alarm which 
the Budget excited, or of the enthusiasm with which 
it was greeted and defended by the bulk of the 
Liberal Party. 

After three weeks of preliminary discussion, and 
nearly four nights' debate on the second reading of 
the Finance Bill, in the Division, June 10, 1909 
(though the Irish Nationalists, from hostility to the 
Whisky Duty, voted with the Conservatives), the 
Government had a majority of 366 to 209. The Bill 
was in committee for forty-two parliamentary days, 
and finally passed the House of Commons on Novem- 
ber 4 by 379 to 149. 

I will quote a passage from my final speech on 
the third reading as expressing the views which were 
held at the time by a large majority of the House of 
Commons: 

" What, then, are the two ways, and the only two 
ways before the country of meeting the necessities of 
the nation? On the one hand you may do as we are 
doing. You may impose, simultaneously and in fair 
proportion, taxes on accumulated wealth, on the profit 
of industry, on the simpler luxuries, though not the 
necessities, of the poor. You may seek, as we are 
seeking, for new taxes on those forms of value which 



THE BUDGET OF 1909 81 

at present are either inadequately taxed or not taxed 
at all; values which spring from monopoly; which are 
not the fruit of individual effort or enterprise; but 
which are the creation, either of social growth, or of 
the direct activity, of the State itself. 

" That is one way that is the way proposed by 
this Budget. What is the other, the only other, that 
has yet been disclosed or even foreshadowed to Par- 
liament and the country? It is to take a toll on the 
prime necessaries of life; it is to raise the level of 
prices to the average consumer of commodities; it is 
to surround your markets with a Tariff wall which, in 
so far as it succeeds in protecting the home producer, 
will fail to bring in revenue, and in so far as it suc- 
ceeds in bringing in revenue, will fail to protect the 
home producer. 

" That, Sir, is the choice which has to be made, 
and if to these alternatives there is to be added 
another, which I decline to believe, the choice be- 
tween the maintenance and the abandonment by this 
House of its ancient constitutional supremacy over all 
matters of national finance, I say there is not a man 
who sits here beside or behind me to-night who is not 
ready to join issue." 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE BUDGET OF IQOQ (ll) 

L LL this time there had been a seething agitation 
in the country outside, organized and fomented on 
the one side by the " Budget League ", and on the 
other by the " Budget Protest League." Mr. Lloyd 
George himself made a famous speech, which added 
a new term to the political vocabulary, at Limehouse. 
The principal organ in the Unionist Press accused 
him of " coarse personalities " and " pitiful claptrap." 
Critics with a tincture of classical reading denounced 
him as a second Cleon. 1 " We know now," wrote Sir 
Edward Carson, 2 " from Mr. Lloyd George that the 
Budget means the beginning of the end of all rights 
of property." Even Lord Lansdowne (Bowood, 
August 7) compared him to the " swooping robber 
gull, particularly voracious and unscrupulous, which 
steals fish from other gulls." 

Lord Rosebery had, ever since the formation of the 
Campbell-Bannerman Government, maintained, on 
the whole, an attitude of not unsympathetic detach- 

1 A felicitous and untranslatable Greek epigram attributed to 
Doctor Warre, the Provost of Eton ran as follows 

kv rats 'Axappat? dijfjLaywyiK&v repay, 
rods yijr <k\ovTO,s AotSopei Fecup'yos &v. 

2 The Times, August 2, 1909. 



THE BUDGET OF 1909 83 

ment. It is true that in an address to the Liberal 
League (March, 1907) he had said that his speeches 
might be regarded as " the croakings of a retired 
raven on a withered branch." He had, however, given 
valuable support in 1908 to the Licensing Bill, of 
which he approved the fundamental principles. But 
he fell upon the Budget of 1909 and rent it tooth and 
nail. He resigned the presidency of the Liberal 
League, and speaking at Glasgow (September 10, 
1909) he said: 

" I think my friends are moving on the path that 
leads to Socialism. How far they are advanced on 
that path I will not say. But on that path I, at any 
rate, cannot follow them an inch. Any form of Pro- 
tection is an evil, but Socialism is the end of all, the 
negation of Faith, of Family, of Property, of Mon- 
archy, of Empire." 

The phrase, " the end of all ", became current coin 
in the controversy. 

While the Bill was still in the House of Commons, 
rumours began to be rife as to its probable fate in the 
Upper House. So persistent did they become that, 
speaking at Birmingham on September 17, 1909, I 
thought it right to use the plainest language: 

" Amendment by the House of Lords is out of the 
question. Rejection by the House of Lords is equally 
out of the question. ... Is this issue going to be 
raised? If it is, it carries with it in its train conse- 
quences which he would be a bold man to forecast 
or foresee. That way Revolution lies." 

Early in October, I was summoned by King 



84 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Edward to Balmoral, and after some conversation on 
the situation I left with him a confidential memo- 
randum. His Majesty was naturally as anxious as 
were King William IV in the case of the Reform 
Bill, and Queen Victoria in the cases of the Irish 
Church and the Franchise bills, to discover some via 
media by which a collision between the two Houses 
could be averted. He asked me whether I thought he 
was well within constitutional lines in holding com- 
munications with the Opposition leaders at this junc- 
ture. I replied that I thought what he was proposing 
to do perfectly correct from a constitutional point of 
view. 

Accordingly on his return to London he gave an 
interview (October 12, 1909) at Buckingham Palace 
to Lord Lansdowne and Mr. Balfour. I saw him im- 
mediately afterwards, and gathered that the sub- 
stance of what they had told him was that they had 
not yet decided what action the House of Lords 
should be advised to take. 

Meanwhile, as I wrote at the time to my col- 
leagues: " The prospect of the rejection of the 
Finance Bill by the Lords is regarded with serious 
apprehension by many who are in no sense partisans, 
and some of the wisest heads in the country are seek- 
ing, so far unavailingly, to avert such a grave and 
far-reaching innovation." 

There can, however, be no doubt that the attitude 
of the great bulk of the Conservative Party was 
accurately foreshadowed in a speech made by Lord 
Milner at Glasgow on November 26. He declared 



THE BUDGET OF 1909 85 

that it was the duty of those who condemned the 
Budget not to let it pass, and so produce a great 
Unionist reaction (as some people recommended), 
but " to try to prevent a thing they believed bad, and 
to damn the consequences " : another picturesque 
contribution to the phraseology of the times, which 
was not readily forgotten. 

It was in this sense that the Opposition leaders 
ultimately decided to advise the House of Lords to 
act, and on November 16 Lord Lansdowne gave 
notice that he would move as an amendment to the 
second reading: 

" That this House is not justified in giving its con- 
sent to this Bill until it has been submitted to the 
judgment of the country." 

The momentous debate, lasting for six days, which 
followed, ranged over the whole field of the relations 
between the two Houses. 

The main contention of Lord Lansdowne and his 
thick and thin supporters was, that the House of 
Lords was entitled in the case of a measure, to which 
the majority of its members saw so many objections, 
to decline to pass it until it had been submitted to a 
referendum in the shape of a general election. But 
among the most hostile critics of the Budget voices of 
great authority were raised in deprecation of, and 
protest against, the course proposed. Lord James of 
Hereford declared it to be beyond the constitutional 
competence of the House to reject the Bill. Lord 
Balfour of Burleigh said: "In many respects the 
Finance Bill is not just. . . . Nevertheless I do not 



86 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

agree as to the wisdom of stopping it in the way, and 
by the method which is proposed." Lord Cromer had 
" come to the conclusion that, objectionable as the 
Budget was, the House of Lords could not reject it 
without incurring other and more formidable risks." 
And most significant of all were the words of Lord 
Rosebery: " I cannot, I think, be more hostile to the 
Budget than I am. But I am not willing to link the 
fortunes of the Second Chamber with opposition to 
the Budget. ... I think you are playing for too 
heavy a stake on this occasion. I think you are risk- 
ing in your opposition to what I agree with you is an 
iniquitous and dangerous measure, the very existence 
of a Second Chamber." 

The Ministers in charge of the Bill were not con- 
tent with denying the constitutional competence of 
the House of Lords to tamper with the finance of the 
year; to them the rejection of the Budget was only 
the latest in a series of systematic attacks by the 
Second Chamber upon the principle of representative 
government. The Lord Chancellor (Loreburn) read 
out from a paper the following declaration: " It is 
impossible that any Liberal Government should ever 
again bear the heavy burden of office, unless it is 
secured against a repetition of treatment such as our 
measures have had to undergo for the last four 
years." And Lord Crewe, the leader of the House, 
wound up the debate with the intimation that, after 
the action which their Lordships were taking " we 
must set ourselves to obtain guarantees, fenced about 
and guarded by the force of Statute, which will pre- 



THE BUDGET OF 1909 87 

vent that indiscriminate destruction of our legislation 
of which your work to-night is the climax and the 
crown." 

The House, however, turned a deaf ear to these 
warning voices, and determined to " damn the con- 
sequences." The second reading was defeated by 350 
to 75. As the Journal dryly records: " Resolved in 
the Negative accordingly." 



T, 



CHAPTER XIV 

DISSOLUTION AND GENERAL ELECTION OF 
JANUARY, I9IO 



HE Government took up the challenge, so rashly 
thrown down, without a day's delay. On December 
2, 1909, I proposed in the House of Commons a 
motion in the following terms: 

" That the action of the House of Lords in refusing 
to pass into law the financial provision made by this 
House for the service of the year is a breach of the 
Constitution and a usurpation of the rights of the 
Commons." 

In submitting the motion I announced that I had 
advised the Crown to dissolve Parliament at the 
earliest possible moment, and that His Majesty had 
been graciously pleased to accept that advice. I went 
on to say: " No one will deny that the House of 
Lords has a technical right to reject a Finance Bill 
or any other bill. I certainly am not in the least con- 
cerned to deny that there have been cases in the old 
days in which this House has acquiesced, though 
rarely without protest, not only in the rejection but 
in the amendment of bills which were concerned with 
the taxation of the country. For the most part these 
cases were trivial, and even trumpery, in their charac- 



ELECTION OF JANUARY, 1910 89 

ter; but ever since 1628, when, by the advice of the 
greatest lawyers of that day, the mention of the Lords 
was deliberately omitted from the granting words in 
the preamble of Supply Bills, this House has asserted, 
with ever-growing emphasis, its own exclusive right to 
determine the taxation and the expenditure of the 
country. 

" Within the practice of our own time there is one 
case, and one only, in which the House of Lords has 
ever attempted to interfere with the financial func- 
tions of this House. That is the familiar case of the 
Paper Duty in 1860, when, the House of Commons 
having sanctioned the repeal of the tax, the House of 
Lords refused to give its assent to the repeal. The 
Commons took swift and summary vengeance. In the 
following year they passed the same tax, in company 
with a number of others, as part of the general finan- 
cial arrangements of the year. The House of Lords 
acquiesced, and from that day to this it has never 
attempted again to question the sole and exclusive 
competence of this House in matters of supply. . . . 

" The House of Lords, or their apologists, tell us 
that they have not rejected this Bill. All they have 
done is to refer it to the people. . . . This new- 
fangled Caesarism, which converts the House of Lords 
into a kind of plebiscitary organ, is one of the 
quaintest inventions of our time. . . . The truth is 
that all this talk about the duty or the right of the 
House of Lords to refer measures to the people is, in 
the light of our practical and actual experience, the 
hollowest outcry of politicaf cant. We never hear of 



90 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

it when a Tory Government is in power. It is simply 
a thin, rhetorical veneer, by which it is sought to gloss 
over the partisan, and in this case the unconstitu- 
tional, action of a purely partisan Chamber. The sum 
and substance of the matter is that the House of 
Lords rejected the Finance Bill, not because they love 
the people, but because they hate the Budget." 

Mr. Balfour, in reply, defended the peers. They 
had done their duty and done it fearlessly. " I under- 
stand," he said to the Government, " that you are 
going to try to persuade the people of this country 
that they are suffering some wrong, some terrible 
indignity, by having their opinion asked about the 
Budget." He imagined the Liberals would have a 
new banner for their popular processions, bearing 
the device: " The Lords have insulted you by asking 
your opinion. Take care to give such a vote that 
your opinion will never be asked again." 

The motion was carried by 349 to 134: majority, 

215- 

Parliament was at once dissolved. 

I laid down in a Memorandum which I circulated 
to my colleagues the issue, as I conceived it, which 
we should submit to the electorate. 

The first duty of a Liberal Government must be 
to secure such a readjustment of the relations and 
powers of the two Houses that the will of the people, 
maturely interpreted and deliberately expressed by 
their chosen representatives, should, whether the ma- 
jority of the House of Commons were for the time 



ELECTION OF JANUARY, 1910 91 

There was, I pointed out, no question of abolishing 
the Second Chamber. In a democratic country such 
a Chamber is needed, and has useful and dignified 
functions to discharge. But in future it must be ren- 
dered impossible for a partisan and non-representa- 
tive body to be able at its discretion to compel the 
Government of the day, possessing the confidence of 
the House of Commons, to abandon or mutilate its 
legislation, and even its finance; or else, whenever 
and as often as the House of Lords thinks fit, to put 
the country to the expense and turmoil of a general 
election. 

To make the position abundantly clear, in opening 
the electoral campaign at the Albert Hall, on Decem- 
ber 10, I used words which were much quoted and 
canvassed during the next eighteen months: 

" We shall not assume office, and we shall not hold 
office, unless we can secure the safeguards which ex- 
perience shows us to be necessary for the legislative 
utility and honour of the party of progress." 

The result of the Election of January, 1910, was 
as follows: 

Liberals 275 

Conservatives and Unionists (includ- 
ing twenty Irish) 273 

Irish Nationalists (twelve Independ- 
ent) 82 

Labour 40 



92 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

The following commentary on these figures is 
drawn in substance from a contemporary Cabinet 
Memorandum: 

If the Independent Nationalists, who were an 
uncertain factor, were left out of the account, this 
would give a majority against the maintenance of 
the Lords' veto of about 112 (385 against 273). If 
Ireland as a whole were left entirely out of the ac- 
count, the majority against the Lords' veto in Great 
Britain would work out at sixty-two (315 against 

253). 

The majority differed from that which the Govern- 
ment could command in the previous House of Com- 
mons in two respects: viz., (i) in being materially 
smaller in its proportions, and (2) in being of a com- 
posite, and not of a homogeneous, character. But, in 
actual size, it compared favourably with the majori- 
ties which such statesmen as Lords John Russell and 
Palmerston considered adequate; and, upon the con- 
stitutional issue, there was every reason to believe 
(as the event proved) that it was substantially 
united. 

In these circumstances the Government, after care- 
fully reviewing the situation created by the general 
election, and in view of the obvious inability of the 
Conservative leaders to conduct the affairs of the 
nation in a House of Commons so constituted, came 
to the conclusion that it was their duty to continue 
to carry on the Administration, and at the earliest 
moment compatible with the financial exigencies of 
the country, to submit to Parliament their proposals 



ELECTION OF JANUARY, 1910 93 

in regard to the future relations between the two 
Houses. 

Meetings of the Cabinet were held on February 10 
and n, 1910, and on the twelfth I went to Brighton, 
where the King then was, and communicated to him 
a Cabinet Minute of the eleventh. As its substance 
was publicly stated in Parliament very shortly after- 
wards, there can be no objection to recording its 
precise terms, which had been the subject of careful 
consideration: 

" His Majesty's Ministers do not propose to advise 
or request any exercise of the Royal Prerogative in 
existing circumstances, or until they have submitted 
their plans to Parliament. If, in their judgment, it 
should become their duty to tender any such advice, 
they would do so when and not before the ac- 
tual necessity may arise." 

I intimated at the same time to His Majesty that 
the Cabinet had decided to make the re-introduction 
of the Budget, and the necessary provisions for the 
finance of the year, the first item in their programme. 
In the course of a further communication, a day or 
two later, I pointed out that if (as seemed probable) 
the Opposition should find themselves compelled by 
their electoral pledges to vote against the Budget, it 
was by no means certain that, when it came to the 
point, they would find that in this course they had 
the support of the Irish Party. But, I added, such a 
combination was undoubtedly a contingency which 
must be regarded as within the range of probability. 

(It must be remembered that the Nationalists had 



94 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

not supported either the second or the third reading 
of the Finance Bill of 1909.) 

A good deal of steering was needed to round this 
rather hazardous point. In the end the Finance Bill 
of the previous year after occupying three days was 
read a third time in the House of Commons on April 
27 by a majority of 93, and went through all the 
stages next day in the House of Lords. 

In the meantime the main issue became more and 
more clearly isolated and defined. In the speech from 
the Throne (February 21) the King was advised to 
say: " Proposals will be laid before you, with all 
convenient speed, to define the relations between the 
Houses of Parliament, so as to secure the undivided 
authority of the House of Commons over finance, 
and its predominance in legislation. These measures, 
in the opinion of my advisers, should provide that 
this House (the House of Lords) should be so con- 
stituted and empowered as to exercise impartially, 
in regard to proposed legislation, the functions of 
initiation, revision, and, subject to proper safeguards, 
of delay." 

In view of my language (already quoted) at the 
Albert Hall, it was assumed in some quarters that 
the Government had already secured some kind of 
guarantee for the contingent exercise of the Royal 
Prerogative. The Cabinet Minute of February n 
shows that this was not the case. 

Accordingly, on the first day of the debate on the 
Address, I said: " I tell the House quite frankly that 
I have received no such guarantee, and that I have 



ELECTION OF JANUARY, 1910 95 

asked for no such guarantee. In my judgment it is 
the duty of responsible politicians in this country, as 
long as possible and as far as possible, to keep the 
name of the Sovereign and the prerogatives of the 
Crown outside the domain of party politics. If the 
occasion should arise, I should not hesitate to tender 
such advice to the Crown as in the circumstances the 
exigencies of the situation appeared to warrant in 
the public interest. But to ask, in advance, for a 
blank authority, for an indefinite exercise of the 
Royal Prerogative, in regard to a measure which has 
never been submitted to, or approved by, the House 
of Commons, is a request which, in my judgment, no 
constitutional statesman can properly make, and it is 
a concession which the Sovereign cannot be expected 
to grant." 



CHAPTER XV 

THE VETO FIRST STAGE 

KING EDWARD'S DEATH 



T, 



HE proposals of the Government were in the 
first instance embodied in three resolutions which 
were debated during the first fortnight of April, 1910, 
and carried by majorities of from 105 to 98. Their 
object was to declare the necessity for legislation: 

(1) To disable the House of Lords from rejecting 
or amending Money Bills; 

(2) To provide that any Bill which had passed 
the House of Commons and been rejected by the 
Lords in three successive sessions should become law, 
provided (a) that the Bill was sent up from the 
Commons at least one month before the end of each 
session, and (6) that at least two years should have 
elapsed between the first introduction of the Bill and 
its being passed by the House of Commons for the 
third time. 

(3) To limit the duration of Parliament to five 
years. 

The scheme was put forward as a practical remedy 
for the evils and injustices which the experience of 
the last four years had shown to be inherent in the 
existing system. The Government not only admitted 



THE VETO FIRST STAGE 97 

but asserted that the reconstruction of the Second 
Chamber, on a popular basis and in diminished num- 
bers, was a problem which must be dealt with in the 
near future. But its solution would be in all prob- 
ability a long and troublesome process, and what the 
country needed was an immediate outlet from an in- 
tolerable situation. The House of Lords was indeed 
itself engaged in declaring the need for its own re- 
constitution. At Lord Rosebery's instance, it pro- 
ceeded to pass resolutions in that sense, of which the 
most specific, and perhaps the only one of practical 
significance, asserted, as " a necessary preliminary 
of reform ", that " the possession of a peerage should 
no longer of itself give the right to sit and vote in 
the House ", an innocent-looking proposition, which 
would incidentally have made a clean sweep of the 
Prerogative of the Crown to add to the membership 
of the House of Lords by the creation of new peers. 
It was the only one of Lord Rosebery's resolutions 
upon which the House of Lords divided, and it was 
carried in a relatively thin House by 175 against 17. 
There was genuine apprehension in some sections 
of the Opposition that, after the veto of the peers 
had been limited, the supporters of the Government 
might prevent them from proceeding with the reform 
of the Second Chamber. We might, in fact, be left 
at the mercy of " Single Chamber Government." 
This was not the view of Ministers, and one of them, 
Sir Edward Grey, went so far as to declare that to 
" confine ourselves to a Single Chamber issue, and 
leave the policy of reform of the House of Lords to 



98 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the other side, would result for us politically in 
disaster, death and damnation." 

To make the position plain, the Bill embodying 
the House of Commons resolutions had a declaratory 
preamble; " that it is intended to substitute for the 
House of Lords as it at present exists a Second 
Chamber constituted on a popular basis, but such 
substitution cannot be immediately brought into 
operation." 

The Bill was introduced on April 14, and in lan- 
guage which had been carefully considered by the 
Cabinet, I made it clear that, this time, the labours 
of the Commons were not going to be thrown away: 

" If the Lords fail to accept our policy, or decline 
to consider it as it is formally presented to the House, 
we shall feel it our duty immediately to tender advice 
to the Crown as to the steps which will have to be 
taken if that policy is to receive statutory enactment 
in this Parliament. What the precise terms of that 
advice will be it will, of course, not be right for me 
to say now. But if we do not find ourselves in a 
position to ensure that statutory effect shall be 
given to that policy in this Parliament, we shall then 
either resign our offices or recommend the dissolution 
of Parliament. 

" Let me add this, that in no case will we recom- 
mend a dissolution except under such conditions as 
will secure that in the new Parliament the judgment 
of the people, as expressed at the elections, will be 
carried into law." 



THE VETO FIRST STAGE 99 

After disposing of the Budget, the House of Com- 
mons adjourned for a spring recess, and I took ad- 
vantage of the opportunity to accompany the First 
Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. McKenna, on the Ad- 
miralty yacht, Enchantress, on a visit of inspection 
to Gibraltar. At King Edward's request, we put in 
at Lisbon to pay our respects to King Manuel of 
Portugal and the Queen Mother. The last communi- 
cation I had from my revered Sovereign was a tele- 
gram sent two days before his death: " Very glad 
that you liked your stay at Lisbon and that the King 
was so pleasant. Edward R." 

We had passed Cadiz and were nearing Gibraltar, 
when the First Lord and I received by wireless our 
first intimation of the King's illness. Lord Knollys' 
message to me was of a disquieting kind: " Deeply 
regret to say the King's condition is now most criti- 
cal." On our arrival a few hours later at Gibraltar 
I at once gave instructions for our immediate return, 
and on Friday, May 6, 1 telegraphed to Lord Knollys 
as follows: 

" Your telegram received. Am starting at once for 
home. I find that we can make journey quicker by 
sea than by land. In half an hour Enchantress will 
be under weigh for Plymouth, where I hope to be 
Monday night. Please convey my most fervent sym- 
pathy and hopes to Queen and Prince of Wales. We 
shall be in constant telegraph contact by wireless 
throughout. Please keep me constantly informed." 

At three o'clock in the morning of the following 



ioo FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

day (May 7) I received by wireless the terrible news 
of the King's death: " I am deeply grieved to inform 
you that my beloved father the King passed away 
peacefully at a quarter to twelve to-night (the 6th). 
George." 

I went up on deck, and I remember well that the 
first sight that met my eyes in the twilight before 
dawn was Halley's Comet blazing in the sky. It was 
the only time I believe that any of us saw it during 
our voyage. I felt bewildered and indeed stunned. 
At a most anxious moment in the fortunes of the 
State, we had lost, without warning or preparation, 
the Sovereign whose ripe experience, trained sagac- 
ity, equitable judgment, and unvarying considera- 
tion, counted for so much. For two years I had been 
his Chief Minister, and I am thankful to remember 
that from first to last I never concealed anything 
from him. He soon got to know this, and in return 
he treated me with a gracious frankness which made 
our relationship in very trying and exacting times 
one, not always of complete agreement, but of un- 
broken confidence. It was this that lightened a load 
which I should otherwise have found almost intoler- 
ably oppressive: the prospect that, in the near future, 
I might find it my duty to give him advice which I 
knew would be in a high degree unpalatable. 

Now he had gone. His successor, with all his fine 
and engaging qualities, was without political experi- 
ence. We were nearing the verge of a crisis almost 
without example in our constitutional history. What 



THE VETO FIRST STAGE 101 

was the right thing to do? This was the question 
which absorbed my thoughts as we made our way, 
with two fast escorting cruisers, through the Bay of 
Biscay, until we landed at Plymouth on the evening 
of Monday, May 9. 



CHAPTER XVI 

DISSOLUTION OF DECEMBER, 



T, 



HE death of King Edward completely trans- 
formed the political situation. " The nation wit- 
nessed an incident unparalleled in the annals of party 
warfare. The two combatant forces, already in battle 
array, piled their arms, while the leaders on both 
sides retired for private conference." * 

For the best part of six months an honest and 
continuous effort was made by leading representa- 
tives of both parties in the State to arrive at a settle- 
ment of the constitutional question by agreement. 
The Government was represented by Mr. Lloyd 
George, Lord Crewe, Mr. Birrell, and myself, and 
the Unionist Party by Mr. Balfour, Lord Lansdowne, 
Mr. Austen Chamberlain, and Lord Cawdor, who had 
been for a short term First Lord of the Admiralty in 
Mr. Balfour's Government. Much ground was cov- 
ered and many avenues and by-paths were explored. 

The experiment unhappily broke down in the early 
part of November, and the Government then reverted 
to the situation as it stood in April. 

After full consideration we came to the conclusion 
that it was our duty to advise another Dissolution 
of Parliament. 

1 From my speech in the House of Commons of November 18. 



DISSOLUTION OF DECEMBER, 1910 103 

As less than a year had passed since the general 
election of January, and as the Government still 
possessed the support of an adequate majority in 
the House of Commons, it would, under anything 
like normal conditions, have been difficult, if not 
impossible, to justify such advice. But the conditions 
were wholly abnormal. 

The death of King Edward, and the well intended, 
but abortive parleyings between party leaders which 
followed, had postponed the decision, but had in no 
way transformed the character, or relaxed the ur- 
gency, of the constitutional issue. Since the electors, 
in January, had given us authority to proceed upon 
the lines of the Suspensory Veto, our plan had been 
definitely formulated in the shape of a Bill. It seemed 
to us to be only fair, both to the country and the 
Crown, that we should be fortified by a fresh verdict 
of the Electorate before we entered upon the final 
stage of the struggle, with the contingency, even the 
probability, that it might, in the last resort, be neces- 
sary to invoke the exercise of the Royal Prerogative 
to give effect to the popular will. 

Accordingly (on November 15, 1910) we accom- 
panied our advice to His Majesty with the following 
statement: 

" His Majesty's Ministers cannot take the respon- 
sibility of advising a Dissolution unless they may 
understand that, in the event of the policy of the 
Government being approved by an adequate major- 
ity in the new House of Commons, His Majesty will 
be ready to exercise his constitutional powers, which 



104 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

may involve the Prerogative of creating Peers, if 
needed, to secure that effect shall be given to the 
decision of the Country. His Majesty's Ministers are 
fully alive to the importance of keeping the name of 
the King out of the sphere of Party and Electoral 
controversy. They take upon themselves, as is their 
duty, the entire and exclusive responsibility for the 
policy which they would place before the Electorate. 
His Majesty will doubtless agree that it would be 
inadvisable in the interests of the State that any 
communication of the intentions of the Crown should 
be made public unless and until the actual occasion 
should arise." 

The King came to London on the sixteenth, and, 
after discussing the matter in all its bearings with 
Lord Crewe and myself, was pleased to inform me 
that he felt that he had no alternative but to assent 
to the advice of the Cabinet. 

On November 18 I announced in the House of 
Commons that the King had accepted my advice to 
dissolve Parliament. In accordance with the con- 
cluding words of the Cabinet Memorandum to the 
King, I did not disclose the communications with His 
Majesty, or the assurance of the Crown with regard 
to the possible exercise of the Prerogative, until the 
following August, 2 when the fate of the Parliament 
Bill was finally in jeopardy. As I then said, I never 
used in public or in private during the months which 
followed the word " guarantee " or " pledge " in re- 
gard to the matter. They were words which seemed 

2 In a speech in the House of Commons, August 7, 1911. 



DISSOLUTION OF DECEMBER, 1910 105 

to be inappropriate to describe a conditional under- 
standing such as this, which the Cabinet purposely 
left open until the contingency should actually arise. 

Looking back after many years, I conceive that 
the course taken by the Government was in strict 
consonance both with constitutional propriety and 
the public interest. 

The Dissolution was deferred for ten days to give 
the House of Lords an opportunity of pronouncing 
on the Parliament Bill, and putting their alternative 
plan before the country. They had hurriedly adopted, 
on November 17, Lord Rosebery's proposals, com- 
plementary to his March resolutions, for the trans- 
formation of their ancient Chamber into a brand-new 
Senate. 

The second reading of the Parliament Bill was 
moved by Lord Crewe on the twenty-first, but the 
debate was adjourned, at Lord Lansdowne's in- 
stance, so that the peers might proceed with their 
own scheme for settling differences between the 
Commons and the House of Lords, " reconstituted 
and reduced in numbers." Provision was made for 
a joint sitting of members of the two Houses; but 
if the difference related to a matter which was of 
" great gravity " and had not been " adequately 
submitted to the judgment of the people ", it was 
to be submitted to them by Referendum. This rev- 
olutionary measure was debated and adopted by the 
peers in a couple of days. 

I may cite some criticisms upon it which I made 
at the time in a speech at Hull (November 25): 



106 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

" Given a second Chamber, moderate in size, and 
constituted on popular lines, I would not brush aside 
procedure by Conference and Joint Session as a 
possible and even hopeful expedient for the avoid- 
ance of deadlocks. But under what condition is this 
Joint Session going to take place? In what relative 
proportions are the two Houses going to sit in it? 
Remember, the whole thing only comes into opera- 
tion when you have a Liberal majority in the House 
of Commons. With a Tory majority there, the ma- 
chinery falls into abeyance. The real question is this 
it goes to the very root and foundation of the 
scheme: What kind and what size of Liberal majority 
is to have an effective voice in legislation? " 

" What is meant by the exception from the opera- 
tion of Joint Sessions of questions of ' great gravity? ' 
What are questions of great gravity? Who is going 
to decide? ..." 

" The Referendum would, in effect, as regards all- 
important legislation, give by Statute to the House 
of Lords the power, which it already claims and 
which we strenuously deny to it, to compel, when 
it differs from the popular House, what would be to 
all intents and purposes a Dissolution and a General 
Election. . . ." 

" The Referendum would impair, if it did not 
entirely destroy, the sense of Parliamentary responsi- 
bility. . . ." 



DISSOLUTION OF DECEMBER, 1910 107 

" It would really destroy the law of Government 
by Representation." 

The Dissolution took place on November 28, 1910. 

The result of the election was that parties re- 
mained very much as they were. Liberals and Union- 
ists came back in practically identical numbers. On 
the constitutional proposals which had been sub- 
mitted to the country the Government had, with 
the cooperation of the Nationalists and the Labour 
Party, a majority in the United Kingdom of fully 
120. Leaving the Irish on both sides out of the reck- 
oning, they had a majority in Great Britain of not 
less than 60. 

The exact figures were: 

Liberals 272 

Irish Nationalists 84 

Labour Members 42 



398 
Unionists 272 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE PARLIAMENT ACT 

JVEINFORCED by this fresh expression of the 
popular will, at the earliest possible moment in the 
first session of the new House of Commons in 1911, 
the Government re-introduced the Parliament Bill. 
The second reading was carried on March 2 by a 
majority of 125, and, after sixteen days had been 
given to the Committee and Report Stages, the Bill 
was read a third time by a majority of 121 on 
May 15. 

The real theatre of interest in this momentous 
session was the House of Lords. 

On March 30 Lord Lansdowne moved an Address 
to the King praying his assent to the introduction of 
a Bill limiting the Prerogative of the Crown relating 
to the creation of peerages and the issue to peers of 
Writs of Summons. The Government raised no diffi- 
culty, and advised His Majesty to assent to the 
prayer. 

A " Reconstitution Bill " was thereupon intro- 
duced by Lord Lansdowne and came up for second 
reading on the same day on which the Parliament 
Bill was passed by the House of Commons. It was on 
the lines already indicated as the Unionist alternative. 



THE PARLIAMENT ACT 109 

The debate, which extended over four days, was de- 
scribed by Lord Willoughby de Broke as the " sad- 
dest " which they had ever had; not perhaps without 
reason, for the Conservative Bill proposed to put an 
end to the ancient doctrine and practice of the Con- 
stitution that an hereditary peerage carried with it, 
as of right, legislative functions. If it became law, 
a large number, indeed a majority, of the existing 
members of the then House of Lords knew that 
they would have no hope of ever sitting there again. 

No more was heard of the Bill, after it had re- 
ceived the perfunctory tribute of a second reading. A 
week later (May 23) the House was called upon to 
face realities; for upon that day the debate on the 
second reading of the Parliament Bill was opened. 
As was natural enough, some strong language was 
used on both sides; by no one with more vehemence 
than by Lord Rosebery, who said: 

" We who are speaking here to-night feel that we 
are speaking for the last time in this House as we 
have known it, and perhaps for the last time in these 
walls at all. ... I wish, therefore, in the final fare- 
well, that my voice, at least, shall be raised for the 
last time x in a definite protest against this most ill- 
judged, revolutionary, and partisan measure." 

There was no Division on the second reading, as 
the opponents of the Bill were reserving their am- 
munition for the committee stage, where they thought 
it could be more effectively and destructively used. 

1 This must not be taken too literally, for later on in the discussions 
Lord Rosebery spoke twice. 



no FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

There was a suspension of the conflict during the 
Coronation festivities, which occupied the greater 
part of the month of June. The Bill then went into 
committee, where, in the course of six days, it was 
as completely transformed as though no general elec- 
tion had been held. The principal Amendment moved 
by Lord Lansdowne, substituting the Referendum for 
the Suspensory Veto, and thereby deliberately over- 
riding the express and emphatic decision of the con- 
stituencies only seven months before, was carried on 
July 5 by 253 to 46. 

The Bill in its mutilated and unrecognizable form 
was read a third time on July 20. 

The " contingency " referred to in the last sen- 
tences of the Cabinet Memorandum of November 15, 
1 910, having now arisen, the Cabinet submitted to 
the King a Minute, of which, as its substance was 
disclosed in subsequent discussions in Parliament, 
there can be no objection to setting out the precise 
terms: 

" The Amendments made in the House of Lords 
to the Parliament Bill are destructive of its principle 
and purpose, both in regard to finance and to general 
legislation. There is hardly one of them which, in its 
present form, the Government could advise the House 
of Commons, or the majority of the House of Com- 
mons could be persuaded, to accept. The Bill might 
just as well have been rejected on second reading. 
It follows that if, without any preliminary conference 
and arrangement, the Lords' amendments are in due 
course submitted to the House of Commons they will 



THE PARLIAMENT ACT in 

be rejected en bloc by that House, and a complete 
deadlock between the two Houses will be created. 
Parliament having been twice dissolved during the 
last eighteen months, and the future relations be- 
tween the two Houses having been at both elections 
a predominant issue, a third Dissolution is wholly 
out of the question. Hence, in the contingency con- 
templated it will be the duty of Ministers to advise 
the Crown to exercise its Prerogative so as to get rid 
of the deadlock and secure the passing of the Bill. 
In such circumstance Ministers cannot entertain any 
doubt that the Sovereign would feel it to be his con- 
stitutional duty to accept their advice." 

The King was pleased to signify to me that he 
accepted the advice of his Ministers. 

I accordingly wrote the following letter to Mr. 
Balfour, and a similar one to Lord Lansdowne: 

10, Downing Street, 

July 20, 1911. 

DEAR MR. BALFOUR, 

I think it is courteous and right, before any public 
decisions are announced, to let you know how we 
regard the political situation. 

When the Parliament Bill in the form which it 
has now assumed returns to the House of Commons, 
we shall be compelled to ask that House to disagree 
with the Lords' Amendments. 

In the circumstances, should the necessity arise, 
the Government will advise the King to exercise his 
Prerogative to secure the passing into law of the 
Bill in substantially the same form in which it left 



H2 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the House of Commons, and His Majesty has been 
pleased to signify that he will consider it his duty 
to accept, and act on, that advice. 

Yours sincerely, 
H. H. ASQUITH. 

This letter was read at a meeting of the Unionist 
Leaders on July 21. 

On Saturday, July 22, I had an audience of the 
King. His Majesty received Mr. Balfour and Lord 
Lansdowne on the twenty-fourth, and subsequently 
saw me again. 

The Commons met on the twenty-fourth to con- 
sider the Lords' Amendments, but when I rose to 
give in detail the grounds for the advice we had 
tendered to the Crown, I was persistently shouted 
down, and was ultimately unable to proceed on ac- 
count of the disorder; a unique incident at that time, 
and I believe still, in the experience of any leader of 
the House. 

It is only fair to record that some of the most 
conspicuous of the participants in this deplorable 
scene subsequently expressed to me their profound 
regret. 

In order that the country might not be left in the 
dark, I had the statement which I had intended to 
make in the House published the next morning. 

Lord Lansdowne, on July 24, addressed to the 
Unionist peers a letter, in which he said he had come 
to the conclusion that it was preferable to desist from 
further opposition rather than, by insisting on their 
Amendments, " bring about a creation of peers in 



THE PARLIAMENT ACT 113 

numbers which will overwhelm the present House 
and paralyse its action in the future without in any 
way retarding the passage of the Parliament Bill." 

On the following day Mr. Balfour, replying to an 
inquiry by Lord Newton, wrote that he agreed with 
the advice Lord Lansdowne had given to his friends. 
"With Lord Lansdowne I stand; with Lord Lans- 
downe I am ready, if need be, to fall." 

It became at once apparent that a large and 
influential body of Unionists were not prepared to 
follow this, which may be called the official advice; 
for it was concurred in by Lord Curzon, Lord 
Midleton, Mr. Walter Long, and Mr. Bonar Law. 
The dissentients found a vigorous and uncompromis- 
ing leader in the venerable Lord Halsbury, and, after 
the fashion of the Liberals in the days of the Boer 
War, they at once organized a dinner in his honour, 
" to support him in his determination to insist on 
Lord Lansdowne's Amendments." It is interesting 
now to recall that in this band of stalwarts were 
to be found Lord Salisbury, Lord Selborne, Lord 
Milner, Sir Edward Carson, Mr. Austen Chamber- 
lain, Mr. F. E. Smith, Lord Hugh Cecil, and Mr. 
George Wyndham. A benediction on the banquet 
came from Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who wrote that 
" the country owes a great debt to Lord Halsbury, 
since in the crisis of her fate he has refused to sur- 
render his principles." (Poor England! How many 
" crises of her fate " have I seen her encounter and 
survive!) 

The combination which feasted Lord Halsbury, 



ii4 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

was, I think, the first to be baptized " Die-Hards." 
Their principal whippers-in in the two Houses were 
Mr. Wyndham and Lord Willoughby de Broke, who 
had declared a short time before that " a very great 
deal of water, and, if necessary, a very great deal 
of blood, would have to flow under Westminster 
Bridge before the Bill was placed upon the Statute 
Book." 

Votes of Censure on the Government for the ad- 
vice given to His Majesty were moved in both 
Houses; in the Commons by Mr. Balfour and in the 
Lords by Lord Curzon. 

In the Commons debate, " at His Majesty's strong 
desire, and, therefore, of course, with his express 
permission ", I disclosed the communications with 
the Sovereign, which, up to that moment, had been 
treated both by the King and by his Ministers as 
confidential. 

The Censure was rejected in the Commons on 
August 7 by 365 to 246 and was carried in the Lords 
on the following day by 281 to 68. 

The Commons, on August 8, disagreed with the 
principal Lords' Amendment to the Parliament Bill 
by a majority of 106, and the next word was with the 
House of Lords. 

The two views which were struggling for mastery 
in the Unionist Party were defined by Lord Lans- 
downe and Lord Halsbury: " We hold," said Lord 
Lansdowne, " that it will be wiser to abstain from 
further intervention in these discussions, that we 
should assume no responsibility for the Bill; and that 



THE PARLIAMENT ACT 115 

we should make clear that, whenever an opportunity 
presents itself to us, we shall spare no effort to re- 
dress the balance of the Constitution which you have 
so gravely disturbed." 

Lord Halsbury, on behalf of the " Die-Hards ", 
speaking of " this bogey of the Royal Prerogative ", 
declared that he would not yield to the threat. 
" Nothing in the world will induce me to vote for 
the Bill, or to abstain from voting against a Bill 
which I believe to be wrong and immoral and a 
scandalous example of legislation." 

Lord Morley, who in the enforced absence from 
illness of Lord Crewe, led the Government forces, 
has described the scene which followed: 

Late in the evening of this first day an intimation 
was conveyed to me of uneasiness, lest the announce- 
ment of the King's acceptance of the advice to create 
peers had not been made with such distinct emphasis 
as to shake the obstinate and fixed disbelief of some, 
and the random miscalculation of ulterior conse- 
quences in others. The Prime Minister's statement 
in the Commons was unmistakable, but when the 
politician's mind is feverish, be he peer or commoner, 
he catches at a straw. The words " natural reluc- 
tance " * were stretched into all manner of unnatural 
interpretations. To dispel these illusions, so pregnant 
with disaster, was rightly judged imperative if the 
Bill was to have a chance. The occasion for setting 
misunderstandings straight was evidently to be found 

1 Lord Crewe had said in the Censure debate that His Majesty enter- 
tained the suggestion of a possible creation of Peers " with natural, and 
if I may be permitted to use the phrase, in my opinion, with legitimate 
reluctance." 



n6 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

in my coming reply to the questions that had been 
put in the first day's debate. Next morning, accord- 
ingly, I found words, dispatched the formula for 
submission to the King, and received it back with 
his " entire approval." 2 

On the following day, in response to appeals from 
Lord Midleton and Lord Rosebery for a precise 
statement of the authority which Ministers had 
received from the King: 

" At once," writes Lord Morley in his " Recollec- 
tions ", " I drew from my pocket and read out the 
short paper with the words accurately defining the 
terms of the Royal Assent. The silence was intense; 
for a moment or two there was a hum of curiosity 
and dispute as to whether it had been this word or 
that. Then a member of the Front Bench opposite, 
rising at the table, eagerly begged me to repeat it. 
No encore was ever more cheerfully granted, amid 
loud approval from the benches behind me, and 
perplexed silence in front." 3 

The words were: " His Majesty would assent to 
a creation of Peers sufficient in number to guard 
against any possible combination of the different 
parties in Opposition, by which the Parliament Bill 
might be exposed a second time to defeat." 

Lord Rosebery thereupon again intervened. 
" This," he said, " is the most solemn moment the 
House of Lords has had to face in my lifetime or in 
that of many men much older. By a wise concession 

2 "Recollections", II, 351. 3 "Recollections", II, 352-353. 



THE PARLIAMENT ACT 117 

to the feeling of the people, under the guidance of a 
leader whom no one ever dared to accuse of coward- 
ice, the Duke of Wellington, the House of Lords pre- 
served its existence for eighty years, when without 
that concession it would not have had three years of 
life. That is one example. We stand now at the 
parting of the ways. Whatever happens I recognize 
for my part that nothing can ever restore the House 
of Lords. After the second reading of the Bill, to 
which we were compelled reluctantly to yield our 
assent, the House of Lords as we have known it, 
disappears. It is possible that if this Bill be allowed 
to go through to-night there may still be a consider- 
able balance of party which may be of great use in 
opposing the Government. There will still be a force 
left in this House to oppose and even sometimes to 
thwart the dangerous measures of the Government. 
If this Bill be allowed to pass, Europe and the Em- 
pire will be spared the sight of a scandal which may 
go far to weaken the hold of the centre of the Empire 
on its component parts, and we shall be left, at any 
rate, with a certain amount of vitality, without the 
strain on the Constitution involved in the creation 
of hundreds of Peers; whereas, on the other hypoth- 
esis, we shall be left with no power at all, flattened 
out completely, with an addition of hundreds of 
Peers, added to the House under a most degrading 
franchise, and the ruin of this ancient Constitutional 
Assembly will be as complete as its worst enemies 
would desire." 

This was perhaps the most significant and momen- 



n8 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

tons pronouncement in this historic debate. Of the 
division, Lord Morley writes: 

As one who had taken part in a thousand par- 
liamentary divisions I felt that the universal strain 
to-night was far more intense than any of them 
even the historic night five-and-twenty years before, 
when the House of Commons had thrown out the 
first Home Rule Bill. On that occasion the House, 
excepting perhaps the then Prime Minister himself, 
had a good guess of what must be coming. To-night 
for the three or four hours between my crucial an- 
nouncement in the afternoon, and the Division at 
night, the result was still to all of us profoundly dark, 
and dark it remained in the dead silence only broken 
by the counting of the tellers, down to the very 
moment of fate. 4 

In the division the motion for insisting on the 
Amendment was defeated by a majority of seven- 
teen (131 to 114). The Peers voting with the Gov- 
ernment were classified as consisting of 81 Liberals, 
37 Unionists, and 13 Prelates (including both the 
Archbishops). 

The only " Official " Unionist, who voted in the 
minority were Lord Halsbury, Lord Salisbury, Lord 
Selborne, and the two party Whips, Lord Waldegrave 
and Lord Churchill. The remainder abstained. In the 
same lobby were to be found Lord Roberts and Lord 
Milner, and two Bishops Bangor and Worcester. 5 

* " Recollections ", II, 355- 

5 A comment made at the time on the votes of the Bishops by Lord 
Robert Cecil is worth recording. "That curious belief in their infalli- 
bility," he wrote in the Saturday Review (August 12, 1911), " which is 



THE PARLIAMENT ACT 119 

The feelings of the Die-Hards are expressed in 
Wyndham's letters. " We were beaten," he wrote, 
" by the Bishops and the Rats." 6 And a fortnight 
later he classified the thirty-seven Unionists in the 
Government lobby as thirty-one traitors and six 
mountebanks." 7 

The Parliament Bill, on August 18, 1911, took its 
place on the Statute Book (i and 2 Geo. V. c. 13), 
where, I hazard the prediction that, in all its essential 
provisions, it is likely to remain. 



so characteristic of those who, like Bishops, judges and schoolmasters, 
habitually speak without fear of contradiction, induced the Episcopal 
Bench to believe that they understood the requirements of a strictly 
political situation better than did the statesmen and politicians, whose 
opinions they professed to share And so the Bishops rushed in where 
Lord Lansdowne feared to tread It is doubtful if, when the House of 
Lords comes to be reformed (should that ever come to pass), there will 
be found more than thirty-seven supporters of the retention of the 
Episcopal vote." 

" Wyndham ", p. 699 

7 Ibid , p. 704 



CHAPTER XVIII 

CHANGES OF PERSONNEL, 1910-1913 



T, 



HE passing of the Parliament Act is a landmark 
in our constitutional history, and the date may serve 
as a resting-place in this narrative before I proceed 
to its later stages. 

I will add nothing to what I have said in the im- 
mediately preceding chapters, by way of explanation 
or defence of the strategy of the Government; in 
particular, of the double general election of 1910, 
and the handling of the Royal Prerogative. I am 
glad to find that it is warmly commended by Mr. 
Spender, 1 whose approval is far from being that of 
a blind partisan, as appears by the adverse criticism 
which he proceeds to offer upon our later dealings 
with " Carsonism." As a matter of history, there 
can be little doubt that, though the Liberal floodtide 
of 1906 had subsided, the Government had in this 
struggle the steady, if not enthusiastic, support of 
popular opinion. This is sufficiently shown by the 
practically identical results of the two elections held 
in January and December, 1910. In the end, an 
actual deadlock was prevented by the prudent coun- 
sels of Lord Lansdowne and his principal colleagues. 
If the " Die-Hard " policy had prevailed, it is clear 

i " The Public Life ", I, no. 



CHANGES OF PERSONNEL, 1910-1913 121 

that (after the two Dissolutions) the only constitu- 
tional outlet from the impasse created would have 
been to fall back upon the reserve power of the 
Royal Prerogative. 

Lord Halsbury was verging on the age of ninety 
when he took command of the " Die-Hards ", and 
gallantly headed their charge into the " last ditch." 
At the Bar he had been a powerful and successful 
advocate, and he had held the Great Seal for a longer 
time than any Chancellor since Lord Eldon. If he 
can hardly be described as a great judge, he was in an 
eminent degree in his judicial capacity par negotiis. 
He preserved his mental and physical powers till he 
was some years over ninety, rivaling in that respect 
an illustrious predecessor on the Woolsack, to whom 
he bore no other resemblance Lord Lyndhurst. In 
politics he was a true-blue Tory of the full-blooded 
type, who despised the compromises, the halfway 
houses, the parti-coloured and patchwork policies, 
which, in his view, marked the degeneracy and even 
the decadence of English public life. Like Lord 
Milner, whose political pedigree and creed were miles 
apart from his own, but who also had in his tempera- 
ment a strain of unbending obstinacy, he was pre- 
pared to hold out at all costs, and to " damn the con- 
sequences." The type died with him and will never 
be replaced. 

It will be convenient here to summarize in advance 
some changes in the personnel of politics which took 
place between 1910 and 1913. 

1910: H. Gladstone became Governor of South 



122 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Africa and was succeeded at the Home Office by 
Winston Churchill, whose place at the Board of 
Trade was taken by Sydney Buxton. Rufus Isaacs 
was appointed Attorney-General and John Simon 
Solicitor-General. Lord Wolverhampton resigned 
from physical disablement. Lord Morley exchanged 
the India Office for that of Lord President of the 
Council. His own account of the transaction is to be 
found in his " Recollections." 2 

" In November, 1910, I resigned my post at the 
India Office, partly because I was tired, partly from 
a feeling that a new Viceroy 8 would have fairer open- 
ings with a new Secretary of State; partly, too, that 
I might have a farewell chance of literary self-collec- 
tion. Of the last little came, and perhaps it was not 
really so strong an impulse as I flattered myself that 
it would prove. Be that as it may, the Prime Minis- 
ter pressed me to remain in his Cabinet either as Lord 
President of the Council or Privy Seal, and I went to 
the Privy Council." 

Upon this Mr. Spender makes the following com- 
ment: 

" He constantly asserted his desire to be relieved 
of the burdens of the India Office; but I think I am 
a competent witness to the fact that he was painfully 
astonished when one of his many resignations was 
finally accepted." 4 

2 Vol. II, p. 343- 

8 Lord Hardinge had just been selected to succeed Lord Minto: his 
appointment terminated, most happily as it turned out, what had 
threatened to be a controversy among responsible persons as to the 
daims of Lord Kitchener. 4 " The Public Life ", I, 104. 



CHANGES OF PERSONNEL, 1910-1913 123 

It is true that Morley had a rather awkward habit 
of hasty resignation, as had Mr. Gladstone at one 
stage of his career; in the days, for example, of Lord 
Palmerston's Cabinet (1859-1865). Palmerston used 
to declare that he had a drawer full of his (Mr. Glad- 
stone's) resignations. 6 I suspect that every Prime 
Minister, who has preserved his correspondence, 
could produce remarkable specimens, which never 
saw the light of publicity, of this kind of communi- 
cation: some of them from very unexpected quarters. 

Here is a characteristic note tossed to me by 
Morley at the Cabinet while we were discussing naval 
shipbuilding in 1909 (see next page). 

I will not attempt to pass in review Morley's 
administration of the India Office, or to discuss the 
" Morley-Minto " reforms, further than to say that 
in my judgment they marked a solid and substantial 
advance on the road of wise government. It was, 
no doubt, an ironic stroke of Fortune that yoked 
together in the same team a pair of public men super- 
ficially so ill-matched as the Viceroy and the Secretary 
of State. That they pulled as well together as they 
did is much to the credit of both. Lord Morley's 
narrative of their regime covers some two hundred 
pages of his " Recollections ", and is largely com- 
posed of extracts from his letters to the Viceroy, a 
form of composition in which he was a great literary 

5 Charles Villiers, walking down Whitehall one day during Palmers- 
ton's last Government, observed a dense cloud of smoke arising from 
the chimneys of Number 10, Downing Street "I suppose," he said 
"they are burning Gladstone's letters of resignation." ("Disraeli and 
Gladstone ", by D. C. Somervell, 1925, p 123 ) 



124 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 







Photograph by Elliott fr Fry, Ltd. 

THE EARL OF ROSEBERY 



CHANGES OF PERSONNEL, 1910-1913 125 

artist. Lord Minto could not lay claim to any such 
faculty; but it is only just to say that his own letters 
are as well worth reading as those of his gifted corre- 
spondent, to which they are, indeed, an illuminating 
and indispensable supplement. 6 

Morley and I were now the only two members of 
the Gladstone-Rosebery Cabinet of 1892-1895, who 
remained in the Government. 

He was followed at the India Office by Lord 
Crewe, and Mr. Harcourt became Secretary for the 
Colonies. 

1911: In the autumn of 1911 Mr. McKenna and 
Mr. Churchill, at my request, exchanged the offices of 
Home Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty. Of 
Mr. Balfour's resignation this same year of the 
leadership of his party I shall speak later. 

1912 : Lord Loreburn resigned the chancellorship on 
grounds of health, and was succeeded by Lord Hal- 
dane. Lord Carrington also retired and was created 
a Marquis. Colonel Seely became Secretary of State 
for War. The Attorney-General (Sir R. Isaacs) was 
for the first time admitted to the Cabinet. 

1913: The Unionist Party in the House of Com- 
mons suffered severe loss in the premature deaths of 
George Wyndham (June) and Alfred Lyttelton 

(July). 

Lord Loreburn was an academic generation, or 
more, senior to me at Balliol, where he was a contem- 
porary of Lord Lansdowne. He was a fine classical 

6 See " Lord Minto ", by John Buchan. Lord Minto's troubles are 
illustrated by a letter (July, 1910) from him to Sir A. Bigge, p. 311. 



126 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

scholar, winning the most prized of University dis- 
tinctions the " Ireland ", and is, so far as I know, 
the only Scholar of Balliol who ever kept wicket in 
the 'Varsity Eleven. He went to the Bar, and, being 
an old Cheltenham boy, he had the good fortune to 
" Devil " for Sir Henry James, who had been in his 
youth at that school. " Bob Reid ", as he was uni- 
versally styled until he reached the Woolsack, soon 
acquired a good practice of his own, and took silk, 
though he never had a commanding position among 
the advocates of his time. 7 He was from the first 
more absorbed in politics than in his profession, and 
he was still quite a young man when he entered 
Parliament in 1880 as Member for Hereford. He was 
a stalwart and uncompromising Radical, and though 
he did not attain to conspicuous distinction as a 
debater in the House of Commons, he was soon 
marked out for Law Office, and became in Lord Rose- 
bery's Administration, successively Solicitor- and 
Attorney-General. He and I, in early days, were inti- 
mate personal and political friends, and his Chambers 
in the Temple were for some years a favourite ren- 
dezvous, where, in association with Haldane, Scrut- 
ton (now Lord Justice), George Greenwood, J. A. B. 
Bruce, and other militant spirits, we organized the 
activities of the Eighty Club in the campaign against 
coercion and in the propaganda of Home Rule. There 

* He was (next to Sir Richard Webster) the favourite victim of 
Frank Lockwood's genial but merciless pencil during the weary months 
when we all sat together as Counsel before the Pamell Commission, 



CHANGES OF PERSONNEL, 1910-1913 127 

was a direct and virile robustness both in his creed 
and his character which was singularly attractive, and 
masked some latent complexities of mind and tem- 
perament (as sometimes happens with Scotsmen) 
which time developed and made more obvious. 
Throughout the South African troubles he was what 
was called, in the current dialect, a strong " pro- 
Boer ", and he viewed with ever-growing suspicion 
the " Imperialist " leanings of some of his old friends 
and fellow fighters. When the Liberal Administration 
was formed in December, 1905, C. B. was determined 
that Reid should be Lord Chancellor, and he held 
that office for over six years. He proved a sound 
judge, with a rare and happy gift of terseness and 
lucidity. What was more remarkable and less ex- 
pected, he almost at once, without any compromise 
or concealment of his views, gained the ear of the 
House of Lords, and became by universal consent one 
of its most powerful and authoritative debaters. But 
in counsel he was more and more inclined to isolation 
and reserve; and looked with a somewhat morose eye 
upon the foreign policy of Grey, and the naval and 
military proposals of Haldane, McKenna and 
Churchill. He was also, I think, disposed to be criti- 
cal of the finance, both of myself and of Lloyd 
George. But he remained to the end an ardent Home 
Ruler, and a relentless opponent of the Veto of the 
House of Lords. I cannot recall any difference, either 
upon general policy or upon specific measures, which 
ever led him to suggest resignation, and I was very 



128 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

glad, in the distribution of Coronation honours, to 
advise that he should be promoted in the peerage. In 
later years he wrote a book on the War, which, both 
in spirit and in substance, was regretted by some of 
his old colleagues and friends. 



CHAPTER XIX 

MR. BALFOUR'S RESIGNATION 



O 



f N November 8, 1911, Mr. Balfour provided the 
political world with a surprise of the most sensational 
kind by announcing his resignation of the leadership 
of the Conservative Party. Only two days before he 
had made, at a dinner of the " Nonconformist 
Unionist " Association, a combative speech in his best 
style, which contained no premonitory hint of his 
intention. 

The reason which he assigned for his retirement, 
in an address delivered to the City of London Con- 
servatives, was the same as that which had been put 
forward for a similar step, nearly forty years earlier, 
by Mr. Gladstone; the need of the toil-worn and 
veteran political mariner for repose. He had been in 
Parliament, as he reminded his audience, for thirty- 
eight years; leader of the Unionist Party for twenty; 
and leader of the House of Commons for ten. He 
wished to be relieved of his responsibilities before he 
could be " suspected of suffering from the most in- 
sidious of all diseases the disease which comes 
upon those who, without losing their health or their 
intellect, nevertheless get somewhat petrified" Upon 
the symptoms and the dangers of this malady of 



130 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

" Petrification " he dilated with all his characteristic 
freshness and force. The matter appeared to him to 
be urgent. For " what chance has my unfortunate 
successor, if he has no time to get into his saddle . . . 
if he is suddenly left, in the very stress of our des- 
tinies, to deal with a situation which he has never 
been able to survey or contemplate? " Finally, he in- 
timated that the " repose ", which he claimed he had 
earned would not be found incompatible with active 
service to his party and the country. 

" Repose ", as the career of these two distinguished 
men proves, is a relative and! flexible term. Mr. 
Gladstone, after his retirement, was three times 
Prime Minister; and Mr. Balfour, though he has 
never resumed the ostensible leadership of his party, 
has, during the last ten years (1915-1925) been, with 
brief interludes, a Member of the Cabinet in a succes- 
sion of exacting and responsible offices. 

I took the opportunity the following day, at the 
Lord Mayor's banquet (November 9), of expressing 
my own feelings and those of my party at this un- 
toward event: 

" It has been my fortune, in a public life which 
now extends over more than a quarter of a century, 
to be engaged in continuous and almost ceaseless con- 
troversy with Mr. Balfour, and during the last twelve 
months our encounters have been, perhaps, more fre- 
quent and not less uncompromising than ever before. 
It follows that I know as well as anybody perhaps 
better than anybody the range and reach of his 
resources both for attack and for defence: 



MR. BALFOUR'S RESIGNATION 131 

quantus 
In clypeum assurgat, quo turbine torqueat has tarn; 

and from a purely selfish point of view there is no 
one who has equal reason for gratitude, or at any 
rate for relief, at his retirement, not, I am glad to 
think, from the arena of political combat, but from 
the captaincy of the opposing army. But I can 
honestly say that any such feeling is swallowed up in 
a sense of the irreparable loss which his withdrawal 
from the constant interchange of cut and thrust in- 
volves in the daily life of Parliament. 

" I will only venture to predict that it will be long 
before we shall see again in the forefront of political 
strife a personality so invaluable to his friends, so 
formidable to his foes; so interesting and attractive 
to friends and foes alike; or such a unique combina- 
tion of gifts and powers as has made Mr. Balfour by 
universal consent the most distinguished member of 
the greatest deliberative assembly in the world." 

There was, not unnaturally, consternation in the 
Conservative rank and file at this grievous and irrep- 
arable loss, and the Party " microbes " (as Mr. 
Balfour called them), the professional critics and 
grumblers, perforce suspended their activities. Never 
were the Tadpoles and Tapers presented with a more 
slippery problem than the choice of his successor. It 
seemed likely for a time that there would be a close 
contest between the two candidates who ultimately 
emerged Mr. Austen Chamberlain and Mr. Walter 
Long, both of them Tariff Reformers. Mr. Austen 



132 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Chamberlain, who, I believe, had up to that moment 
never labelled himself a Conservative, was not accept- 
able to a number of those whose Toryism was bred in 
the bone. Mr. Long, on the other hand, the bluest of 
blue-blooded Tories, was not acceptable to a number 
of those whose Unionism was of a moderate, and in 
some directions of a progressive, type. A compromise 
was at last arranged, and both retired in favour of 
Mr. Bonar Law the most acharni of all the Tariff 
Reformers who was unanimously elected at the 
Carlton Club on November 13. 

It is impossible to conceive of a greater contrast 
than that between the old leader and the new. It is 
enough to say that the selection was agreed on all 
hands to be a bold experiment. 



PART FIVE 



CHAPTER XX 

NATIONAL INSURANCE: PAYMENT OF MEMBERS 



IN 



the sphere of social reform the chief legislative 
achievement of 1911 was the passing of the National 
Insurance Bill, which will always be associated with 
the name of its principal author, Mr. Lloyd George. 
It provided for the first time a scheme of national 
insurance on a contributory basis for the industrial 
population, against sickness, invalidity, and unem- 
ployment. It was the foundation and starting-point 
for all subsequent legislation, actual or attempted. 
The idea was novel ; the interests that had to be met 
and conciliated, notably the approved societies and 
the doctors, were powerful and well organized; the 
machinery to be set up was of necessity tentative and 
complicated. The conduct of the measure required 
much tactful diplomacy behind the scenes and outside 
the walls of Parliament, and the most careful strategy 
on the floor of the House of Commons, where it is not 
uncharitable to describe the attitude of the Oppo- 
sition as that of a party willing to scratch and yet 
afraid to kill. 

The third reading was not directly opposed, but 
was met, from the Conservative Front Bench, by a 
dilatory amendment, which would have been in fact, 



136 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

though not in form, fatal to the Bill. The new leader 
(Mr. Bonar Law) sought to explain the reasons why 
he and his followers could not vote either for or 
against the third reading: 

" On this question we decline to say either Yes or 
No. If we say No it implies that we are opposed to 
the principles and objects of the Bill. If we say Yes 
it implies that we approve of the Bill as it is pre- 
sented to the House now." (December 6, 1911.) 

I felt bound to congratulate him on such a promis- 
ing first appearance in his new role. " The right hon- 
ourable gentleman," I said, " who is a very popular 
Member of the House and we all wish him great 
success in his task has followed one of the ablest 
dialecticians that Parliament has ever produced; but 
we find that ' Amurath an Amurath succeeds.' I do 
not think, though I was a careful and close observer 
of the career and public action of his predecessor, that 
even he ever discovered, except perhaps in the early 
days of Tariff Reform, that there was a halfway 
house between Yes and No." 

The Bill had an easy time in the House of Lords, 
where it passed through all its stages in a couple of 
days, and it received the Royal Assent on December 
1 6. This attitude was adopted at the instance of Lord 
Lansdowne, who advised that the acceptance of the 
second reading was the " wiser course ", and that it 
would be no use to " make a sham attempt " to revise 
at later stages its detailed provisions. 

The Act, as was inevitable, was far from popular 
in the early stages of its operation, and was anything 



NATIONAL INSURANCE 137 

but a " vote-catching " measure. Several by-elections 
went unfavourably to the Government, notably one 
in South Manchester, where one of our Whips 
was defeated (March, 1912). I may quote a 
few sentences on the subject from a speech which 
I made at Covent Garden Theatre on March 8, 
1912: 

" No one foresaw more clearly than my right hon- 
ourable friend (Mr. Lloyd George) and his col- 
leagues, and from the first we were never under any 
illusion about it whatever, that in its early months, 
perhaps in its early years, such a measure, based on 
the contributory principle, with burdens actual or 
imminent, and with benefits prospective and con- 
tinent, must, from the point of view of the party 
electoral balance sheet, be written down for the time 
being not as an asset but a liability. And so undoubt- 
edly it has proved. 

" But that does not in the least degree or for a 
single moment affect our satisfaction as a Govern- 
ment and as a party. We have been able to secure 
what in the domain of social reform will be found in 
the long run the greatest boon ever conferred upon 
the working people of this country. I will go a step 
further, in view of some improvident things which 
have recently been said, and I will venture to predict 
with the utmost confidence, and stake whatever repu- 
tation I have as a political prophet on this: that the 
Tories, if and when they have the chance, the Tories, 
who are now making party capital and avowedly 
winning by-elections by a position of criticism, will 



138 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

not venture to lay a finger on a single one of its 
fundamental principles." 

This same session of 1911 witnessed in addition to 
the Parliament Act another constitutional innova- 
tion: the payment of Members of the House of Com- 
mons. On the same day (August 10) on which the 
opposition to the Parliament Bill finally collapsed in 
the House of Lords, a resolution for the payment of 
a salary of 400 a year to all non-official Members of 
the House of Commons, was moved on behalf of the 
Government by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. 
Lloyd George. 

Mr. Lee brought forward an amendment on behalf 
of the official Opposition, declaring that any such 
payment would be " an indefensible violation of the 
principle of gratuitous public service." In the course 
of his speech he said that they had just seen the 
institution, so far as the House of Commons was 
concerned, for the first time in the history of any 
civilized State, of Single Chamber Government. " In 
his personal belief, the effect of the present proposal 
would be even more marked and more disastrous than 
the passing of the Parliament Bill itself." He was 
supported in the division lobby by Mr. Stanley Bald- 
win, Mr. Cave, Mr. Austen Chamberlain, and Mr. 
Walter Long. 

The Government motion was carried by a ma- 
jority of 98, and a few days later (August 14) the 
supplementary estimate, providing the money for the 
current year, was approved by a majority of 113. 



NATIONAL INSURANCE 139 

In each succeeding year whatever Government 
of any party, or coalition of parties, has been in 
power the provision has continued to be made. 
No one now disputes that it is an indispensable item 
in the annual expenditure of the nation. 



CHAPTER XXI 

MISCELLANEOUS 1905-1912 

I. Woman Suffrage 

JL/URING all these years the cause of Woman's 
Suffrage was kept by its promoters in the limelight 
of the political stage, and almost every session Bills 
were introduced to give effect in their aim. It was a 
subject upon which both political parties were much 
divided ; in my own Cabinet, for instance, I took one 
view and Sir Edward Grey the other; and the Gov- 
ernment gave full parliamentary facilities for its dis- 
cussion. As the division lists showed, the balance of 
opinion in the House of Commons, up to the outbreak 
of the War, was, though not very decisively, adverse 
to the experiment. Ultimately, in the later years of 
the War, after, and as the result of, the Speaker's 
Conference on Representation, which I had arranged 
just before I resigned office in December, 1916, a 
large measure of electoral reconstruction was intro- 
duced and passed. It included the enfranchisement 
of Women, though in a restricted and illogical form. 
For reasons which I gave fully at the time, I and 
others did not persist in our opposition in the changed 
conditions brought about by the War. 

The agitation, as it was carried on by the more 
extreme supporters of the " Women's Cause ", was 



MISCELLANEOUS 1905-1912 141 

marked by a novel and disagreeable feature, the 
adoption of what were called " militant " methods. 
They began with the persistent and irrelevant inter- 
ruption of public meetings called to deal with other 
matters, of which the first conspicuous example was 
Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman's great meeting at the 
Albert Hall on the eve of the general election of 1906. 
But in process of time the campaign developed into a 
species of vendetta of personal violence, in which dog 
whips and red pepper were among the favourite 
weapons of the so-called Suffragettes, and which 
came to be directed against, not only avowed antag- 
onists like myself, but with almost equal virulence 
against those who were suspected of being lukewarm 
or treacherous supporters. Even our children had to 
be vigilantly protected against the menace of abduc- 
tion. The resources of the law were severely taxed 
by the fact that the outrage-mongers were for the 
most part women intoxicated by a genuine fanati- 
cism. Not a few of them showed the temper of the 
confessors and martyrs of a persecuted faith. When 
they were sent to prison, some of them obstinately 
refused food, and the unavoidable resort to forcible 
feeding excited widespread and not unnatural repug- 
nance, which Mr. McKenna's " Cat and Mouse " Bill 
of 1913 enabling the Home Secretary to release 
such prisoners under license, with power to rearrest 
them without warrant did not allay. 

" Militancy " ceased, as if by magic, with the out- 
break of the War in 1914, and never reappeared. 



142 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

II. Coal Wages Legislation 

The early months of 1912 were troubled by a 
national coal strike. It arose out of a vote of the 
members of the Miners' Federation on the question: 
" Are you in favour of giving notice to establish the 
principle of an individual minimum wage for every 
man and boy working underground in Great 
Britain? " The result of the ballot, in January, was 
as follows: For, 445,000; Against, 115,000. Ma- 
jority for, 330,000. 

Accordingly strike notices were sent in to take 
effect on February 29. On February 7, at a national 
conference of owners and men, the owners refused to 
accept the principle of the minimum wage. 

The Industrial Council at the earliest possible 
moment set to work to deal with the situation, and on 
their advice I invited both owners and men to con- 
fer with the Government. Separate meetings between 
the Government on the one side and owners and men 
on the other were held continuously during February, 
the Government being represented by the Prime 
Minister, Sir E. Grey, Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. S. 
Buxton. We put forward and urged upon both 
parties proposals for settlement, but unavailingly, and 
as a last resort (after the strike notices had expired) 
we held joint conferences with owners and men. But 
both remained obdurate. 

In these circumstances we felt that the time had 
come for legislation, and on March 19 I introduced 
the Coal Mines (Minimum Wage) Bill. Mr. Balfour 




Photograph by W. 6r D. Downty of London 
LORD MORLEY 



MISCELLANEOUS 1905-1912 143 

moved its rejection, but the second reading was 
carried by a majority of 123; the third reading by a 
majority of 165 ; the Bill was unopposed in the House 
of Lords, and on March' 29 it received the Royal 
Assent. 

The Bill affirmed the principle of a minimum wage, 
but fixed no figure, leaving the determination of the 
actual rates in each area to the district boards. Both 
proposals were assailed, the first, by a large body of 
the owners and by the official Opposition, as vicious 
in principle, and a weak concession to organized 
force; the second, by the representatives of the 
miners, who demanded that not only the principle of 
the minimum rate, but the actual rates themselves 
should be embodied in the Bill. 

As the matter is of more than merely historical 
interest, I may summarize the argument which I used 
in the House of Commons on both points (March 19 
and March 21, 1912). 

(i) As to the need for a minimum wage, as an 
implied term in the miner's contract of employment: 

" There are cases of frequent occurrence where 
the miner working underground is prevented, from 
causes for which he is in no sense responsible, from 
earning what he is able and willing to earn. The 
commonest of such cases is where a hewer finds him- 
self face to face with a seam of coal which is tech- 
nically called an ' abnormal ' place, i.e., a place where 
the physical conditions are such that he cannot, with 
the best will in the world, secure from his labour of 
the day, anything like an average output." 



144 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

There was, I pointed out, also another frequent 
cause of undeserved inequality in remuneration, even 
when the place where the miner was set to work was 
not " abnormal ", viz., his being prevented from 
sending up to the surface the amount of coal which 
he was ready and able to hew, by deficiency of tubs, 
imperfect condition of the roadway, and other de- 
fects, of slackness, or want of organization, in the 
underground management of the mine. 

(2) As to the inexpediency of naming figures for 
minimum rates in the Act itself, I dwelt on the com- 
plexity and variety of the conditions in the coal- 
mining area, which made the determination of the 
actual rates, in any given district, peculiarly a matter 
for local bodies armed with the necessary local knowl- 
edge. And, on more general grounds, I deprecated 
setting up the precedent of fixing a figure of wages 
in an Act of Parliament. The figure fixed as the 
minimum would tend to be treated as a maximum, 
and at election times would inevitably become the 
subject of agitation, of bidding and counter-bidding, 
in constituencies where the particular class of worker 
affected was largely represented. 

In reply to the suggestion that the Government had 
yielded to organized pressure, 1 it was sufficient to 

1 Some extremely strong language was used in this sense by the Con- 
servative leaders in both Houses. " What has converted the Ministers," 
said Lord Lansdowne, " is the appearance of a colossal conspiracy which 
has held up the country" (House of Lords, March 27, 1912). Mr. 
Balfour developed the same theme with much gusto: " Can anybody 
quote from history ... a parallel case? Has any Feudal Baron ever 
exercised his powers in the manner hi which the leaders of this great 
Union are using theirs? " And he went on to cite, as comparatively 



MISCELLANEOUS 1905-1912 145 

point out that the terms of settlement contained in 
the Bill had, in substance, been vainly urged by us 
in the negotiations upon both parties to the dispute. 
The Miners' Federation met early in April and 
held a national conference, at which the advice of the 
Executive to resume work at once, without waiting 
for the settlement of the minimum rates by the dis- 
trict boards, was endorsed by a substantial majority. 
The strike, which had lasted for six weeks, was thus 
brought to an end. 

III. Trade Union Funds 

The Trade Unions Bill, though it did not become 
an Act until March, 1913, belongs to the session of 
1912. It was a Government measure, to deal with 
the unexpected situation created by the " Osborne " 
judgment, which decided that Trade Unions had no 
power to collect or administer funds for political pur- 
poses. The object of the Bill (as defined by me to a 
Trade Union deputation on February 15, 1912) was 
to restore to the Unions " wide powers to apply by 
resolution their funds as they had been hitherto 
applied ", and at the same time to provide adequate 
precautions and safeguards for the protection of dis- 
sentient minorities. The discussions, which were long 
and at times acrimonious, turned largely upon the 
nature of these safeguards, which were denounced by 
the Conservatives as insufficient and illusory, and by 



venial examples, the " Village Moneylender " and the " American Trust " 
(House of Commons, March 21, 1912). 



146 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the Labour Members as burdensome and excessive. 
In the end Mr. Bonar Law advised his followers not 
to resist the Bill; the third reading was carried with- 
out a division; and the House of Lords allowed it to 
find its way to the Statute Book. 

IV. Record of the Government, 1905-1912 

I may close this chapter before I approach the 
troubled waters which were before us, by quoting 
from a summary, not, I hope, too self-complacent, 
which I gave of the record of the Government, on its 
domestic side, when addressing my constituents 2 at 
the beginning of 1913: 

" We are now in the eighth year of our Adminis- 
tration, and how do matters stand? By universal 
admission our trade, at home and over the seas, was 
never so prosperous, or the percentage of unemploy- 
ment in this kingdom so small. We have placed on 
the Statute Book the two greatest social reforms, 
measured by the extent of the relief which they give 
against the vicissitudes of life, which Parliament has 
ever enacted the Act for Old Age Pensions and the 
National Insurance Act. We have made provision, in 
the face of growing difficulties and exigencies, for 
maintaining unchallenged the Command of the Sea 
which is essential to our national and Imperial life. 
In carrying out these costly purposes we have not 
only not added a penny to the debt of the nation, but 
we have diminished its aggregate capital liabilities at 

2 Speech at Leven, January 29, 1913. 



MISCELLANEOUS 1905-1912 147 

a faster rate, and by a larger sum, than have any of 
our predecessors. We have reduced the Tea Duty by 
a penny and the Sugar Duty by one halfpenny. We 
have met the new burdens involved by taxation, so 
arranged that it does not clog the springs of industry 
or check the accumulation of capital ; while it has not 
contributed in any way to the increase which has been 
going on from world-wide causes, in the cost of the 
necessaries of life." 



CHAPTER XXII 

1913: THE PARLIAMENT ACT AT WORK 



I 



N the two sessions of 1912 and 1913 the Govern- 
ment proceeded to put the Parliament Act into oper- 
ation in accordance with their pledges. 

The session of 1912 was prolonged from February, 
1912, to March, 1913. The opening night in the 
House of Commons was rendered interesting by the 
fact that the address was seconded by Mr. W. G. C. 
Gladstone, grandson of the illustrious statesman, who 
had been returned in the previous autumn at a by- 
election for Kilmarnock. A life full of much promise 
of public service was destined to be cut short by his 
heroic death at the Front in the Great War. 

A large part of this protracted session was devoted 
to the discussion of the Home Rule Bill. Its various 
stages occupied nearly sixty days of parliamentary 
time, and it did not leave the House of Commons 
until the month of January, 1913, when it received a 
third reading by a majority of no. The average ma- 
jority in the almost countless divisions during its 
progress was well over one hundred, and, if the Irish 
vote on both sides was subtracted, it had, through- 
out, the support of a substantial majority of the 
representatives of Great Britain. 



1913: THE PARLIAMENT ACT AT WORK 149 

It then went to the House of Lords, and after four 
days' debate was thrown out on second reading on 
January 30, 1913, by a majority of 257 (326 to 69). 
It may be recalled that the corresponding figures, 
twenty years before in 1893, were 419 to 41. 

A similar fate befell the Welsh Disestablishment 
Bill, which occupied in the Commons 27 days of the 
same session. The third reading was carried by a 
majority of 107, and a few days later (February 13, 
1913) the Bill was rejected on second reading in the 
House of Lords by a majority of 201 (252-51). 

The session of 1912-1913 was at last brought to 
an end by prorogation on March 7, and after an in- 
terval of only a couple of days Parliament was re- 
opened, and the session of 1913 began. 

The Irish and Welsh Bills were again proceeded 
with under the Parliament Act, and passed through 
the Commons by substantially unchanged majorities. 
They were both again rejected by the House of Lords, 
where in each case an amendment to the second 
reading was carried in identical terms: " That this 
House declines to proceed with the consideration of 
the Bill until it has been submitted to the judgment 
of the country." * 

. In reference to this form of procedure, Lord Lore- 
burn put the pertinent question, " whether in the 
event of a general election the Unionist Party would 
abide by the result." 

Lord Curzon replied (as he stated, with the express 
authority of Lord Lansdowne) : 

1 The Plural Voting Bill received the same treatment. 



ISO FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

" In the event of the result of the General Election 
being to indicate substantial approval of the measure 
of His Majesty's Government, he (Lord Lansdowne) 
will be prepared to advise your Lordships to go into 
Committee on the Bill, and endeavour to remove 
some of the blemishes and undesirable features by 
which it is characterized, and to ask all parties in the 
House to join in the endeavour to shape it into a 
more passable and palatable measure." 

I have italicized some phrases in this ingenious 
declaration, for the light which they throw upon the 
conception then entertained by a large majority of 
the House of Lords of the meaning and effect of a 
Referendum. 

But the fortunes of the Irish Bill were now enter- 
ing upon a new phase, in which the centre of interest 
was to be found, not at Westminster, but outside the 
walls of Parliament. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

ULSTER (l) 



I 



T was more than a quarter of a century since Lord 
Randolph Churchill had uttered his famous slogan: 
" Ulster will fight, and Ulster will be right." In the 
debates of the session of 1912-1913, on the Home 
Rule Bill, Ulster once again became the pivot of the 
Irish controversy. 

As Mr. John Redmond had pointed out a year 
before, 1 there was, in the true and full sense of the 
term, " no Ulster question." The province of Ulster 
consisted of ten counties, and in five of these (Ty- 
rone, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Donegal, and Cavan) 
the Roman Catholics were a majority in the last 
three, an overwhelming majority of the popula- 
tion. In the whole province the Catholics numbered 
forty-four per cent., and, if Belfast were omitted, just 
short of fifty per cent. A united and homogeneous 
Ulster was therefore a figment, but that fact, though 
it contracted the range, did not diminish the gravity, 
of the problem. 

Almost immediately after the passing of the Parlia- 
ment Act, a conference of Ulster Unionists and 
Orangemen was held under the auspices of Sir 

1 Reynolds' s Newspaper, January, 8, 191 z. 



152 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Edward Carson at Belfast (September 25, 1911). Its 
object was to concert a " plan of campaign " against 
Home Rule, and its outcome was the drawing up of a 
constitution for the provisional government of Ulster. 
This procedure was advocated and justified by Sir 
Edward Carson, on the ground that " the people of 
Ulster, if let loose without organization, might, in a 
foolish moment, find themselves in a condition of 
antagonism and grip with their foes " ; a curious 
euphemism for Civil War. The proposed constitution 
was thus represented as a safeguard for " the main- 
tenance of law and order and the prevention of blood- 
shed." 

This was the opening chapter in what, a year later, 
I described as the " complete Grammar of Anarchy." 2 

A further stage was reached when Mr. Bonar Law, 
on behalf of the British Unionists, gave in their ad- 
hesion to the Carson policy. On Easter Tuesday, 
1912 (April 9), the two leaders stood side by side on 
the platform at a demonstration at Belfast, attended 
by from eighty thousand to one hundred thousand 
drilled men assembled in military order. Mr. Law 
aroused their enthusiasm by declaring that, even if 
both parties in Great Britain were committed to 
Home Rule, Ulster would still resist. And the whole 
assembly repeated after Sir Edward Carson their new 
formula: " We will never, in any circumstances, sub- 
mit to Home Rule." 

On the first reading of the Bill in the House of 
Commons in 1912, Mr. Bonar Law described this 

2 At Lady bank (October 5, 1912). 



ULSTER 153 

gathering as the " expression of the soul of a people ", 
who were ready, " in what they believe to be the 
cause of justice and liberty, to lay down their lives." 
And a few weeks later, in the committee stage (June 
1 8) he went a step farther. " The Government," he 
said, " know that if Ulster does resist by force there 
are stronger influences than parliamentary majorities. 
They know that in that case no Government would 
dare to use their troops to drive them out. They 
know, as a matter of fact, that the Government which 
gave the order to employ troops for that purpose, 
would run a greater risk of being lynched in London 
than the Loyalists of Ulster would run of being shot 
in Belfast." 

This was followed up, at a Unionist demonstration 
at Blenheim on July 27, when Mr. Bonar Law de- 
scribed the Government " as a Revolutionary Com- 
mittee which had seized by fraud upon despotic 
power. In our opposition to them we shall not be 
guided by the considerations, we shall not be re- 
strained by the bonds, which would influence us in an 
ordinary political struggle. We shall use any means, 
whatever means seem to us likely to be most 
effective. . . . 

" I say now, with a full sense of the responsibility 
which attaches to my position, that if the attempt be 
made under present conditions, I can imagine no 
length of resistance to which Ulster will go in which 
I shall not be ready to support them, and in which 
they will not be supported by the overwhelming 
majority of the British people." 



154 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

These utterances, unparalleled in the language of 
any responsible statesman within living memory, 
naturally gave rise to a debate in the House of Com- 
mons (July 31), when Mr. Law declared that he was 
glad to have an opportunity of repeating the words 
which he had used at Blenheim. 

" I have been carefully considering them for a long 
time, and I did what I rarely do, I actually wrote 
down the words I used. . . . I have seen no sign that 
there is a member of the Party who does not endorse 
every word I say." 

My comment was that it was a " declaration of 
war against Constitutional Government." 

In the following September, Sir Edward Carson, 
accompanied by Mr. F. E. Smith, made a triumphal 
tour through the section of Ulster where the move- 
ment had been most thoroughly organized. There 
had been already importation of arms into the Orange 
counties and widespread drilling and training. He 
was received with military honours. At Portadown 
(September 25) on his appearance, the Union Jack 
was dipped; he took the salute of a guard of honour; 
and there were even ambulance waggons with hospital 
nurses. The pilgrimage was a prelude to the rite, 
which was duly celebrated at Belfast on September 
28 (" Ulster Day "), of promulgating the " Solemn 
Covenant " which bound its signatories (Sir Edward 
Carson being the first) to refuse to recognize the 
authority of an Irish Parliament. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

ULSTER (n) 



I 



T is at this point that the question arises whether 
the Government were right in not at once putting 
the Criminal Law in motion against Sir Edward 
Carson and his associates. Mr. Spender, whose judg- 
ment is entitled to great respect, has recently placed 
on record his considered opinion that we were wrong. 1 

" The question (he writes) whether the Govern- 
ment could sustain its authority . . . should, I think, 
have been tested at the moment of challenge, for the 
granting of impunity to a prolonged threat of armed 
resistance and open preparation for it is deeply de- 
moralizing." Of the truth of this last proposition 
there can be no doubt. Nor can there be much ques- 
tion that a case could have been made out Sir 
Edward Carson himself never denied it for bring- 
ing the proceedings in Ireland within the scope of the 
criminal law. The speeches and the action taken 
upon them were no longer to quote language which 
I had used of Mr. Balfour twenty years before 
" the conditional incitements of an academic an- 
archist." As a rule, when people take to vapouring 
on the platform about the necessity of flouting Parlia- 
ment, and resorting to " direct action ", most sensible 

i "The Public Life", I, in. 



156 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

statesmen in these days would agree that they are 
best left alone. But here there was more than violent 
rhetoric; there was abundant evidence of preparation 
being made for organized and forcible resistance to 
the law. Indeed, in the autumn of 1913, a " Provi- 
sional Government " was actually formed in Bel- 
fast, and the " Ulster Volunteer Force ", with an 
old Anglo-Indian General, who had been ap- 
pointed " Commander in Chief " at its head, was 
" reviewed " in the presence of Sir Edward Carson, 
who delivered to them an animated and stimulating 
address. 

It had even been hinted that the British Army 
could not be relied on in the emergency of Civil War 2 
and not only responsible British Unionists like Lord 
Selborne and Lord Derby, but Sir Edward Carson 
himself, felt bound to repudiate the suggestion. 
Speaking at Manchester (December 3, 1913) he used 
this language: 

" They tell us sometimes we are trying to tamper 
with the Army. It is a foul lie. ... I have said 
before and say now . . . that it would be a bad day 
for the country if the Army, under any circumstances, 
were to refuse to obey the lawful orders of those who 
are put in command over them. Of course they must. 
But it is for that very reason that statesmen and 

2 As, for instance, in a speech of Mr. Bonar Law's at Dublin (No- 
vember 28, 1913), when he said, referring to the precedent of James II, 
" In order to carry out his despotic intention, the King had the largest 
paid Army which had ever been seen in England. What happened? 
There was no Civil War. There was a revolution and the King disap- 
peared. Why? Because his own Army refused to fight for him." 



ULSTER 157 

politicians ought to look ahead. It is for that very 
reason that statesmen and politicians ought to know 
to what their acts lead." 

This was sound doctrine, but undoubtedly during 
this campaign the seed had already been sown which 
germinated in the Curragh incident of the following 
year. 

If, in view of all this, the Government abstained 
from criminal proceedings, it was neither from 
timidity nor from dilatoriness. Their adverse judg- 
ment which, so far as I remember, was quite unani- 
mous and never wavered, was based upon grounds of 
high policy, and I have never doubted that the course 
actually pursued, though it lent itself to every kind of 
cavil, was the wisest that could in the circumstances 
have been taken. 

In the first place, it is never wise to set on foot 
the machinery of a state prosecution, if its failure to 
secure a conviction is a foregone conclusion. It would 
not have been at all difficult to draw up an indict- 
ment, or a series of alternative indictments, in respect 
of what had been said and done in Ireland. The 
charge or charges could have been framed so as to be 
technically water-tight, and they could have been 
proved up to the hilt by clear, and indeed, uncon- 
troverted evidence. But the guilt or innocence of the 
accused would ultimately have had to be determined 
by a jury, and, as the days of jury-packing were 
happily over, it was as certain as any of the sequences 
of nature that no Irish jury would convict. The ut- 
most that could be hoped for was a disagreement; an 



158 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

abortive result, which would have done nothing to 
vindicate the authority of the law. 

This was in itself a fatal objection to the institution 
of criminal proceedings, even if it had not been rein- 
forced by other grave considerations. We were work- 
ing, through all these eventful years, in close co- 
operation and substantial harmony with the leaders 
of the Nationalist Party. There was not, as yet, the 
faintest indication that they had lost their hold on 
the allegiance of the vast majority of their fellow 
countrymen. I myself went to Dublin (July 18, 
1912) the first British Prime Minister to visit 
Ireland and I had abundant evidence not only of 
the unbroken enthusiasm of the people for Home 
Rule, but of their unabated confidence in Mr. Red- 
mond and his colleagues, of whom the most influential 
at that time were Mr. Dillon and Mr. Devlin. They 
were, throughout, insistent in deprecating resort to 
criminal proceedings against the Carsonites, on the 
ground that such a step could do no good, and that it 
would inevitably secure for the victims an invaluable 
and much coveted place in the annals of Irish martyr- 
ology. 

There was a further argument which carried even 
greater weight. It was obviously of capital impor- 
tance that, if it were possible, the birth of the new 
State should be under the star of Peace. Nothing, 
therefore, was more remote from our hopes or inten- 
tions than to take any step that was not absolutely 
forced upon us in the " coercion " of the Ulster mi- 
nority. We could give no countenance to any claim on 



ULSTER 159 

their part, moral or constitutional, to defeat or frus- 
trate the aspirations, endorsed by the Imperial Parlia- 
ment, of the vast majority of the Irish people. But 
we appealed to them again and again in the course of 
the debates to formulate some plan which would meet 
their special case, without denying or delaying the 
claim of the majority. 3 I shall deal in the following 
chapter with the attempts which were made after the 
Prorogation of Parliament in August, 1913, to obtain 
a settlement by consent. For the moment, it is 
enough to say that any overtures in that direction, 
either upon the one side or the other, would have been 
hopeless from the first in the atmosphere which would 
have been created either by a successful or an un- 
successful resort to the criminal law. 

8 For confirmation of this, see my speech in the House of Commons 
on the question that Clause I stand part of the Bill (July 3, 1912), 
and Lord Crewe's in the House of Lords on the second reading Janu- 
ary 27, 1913) 



CHAPTER XXV 

ULSTER (in) 



IN 



a speech to my constituents at Ladybank, Octo- 
ber 25, 1913, I publicly invited the Unionist leaders 
to an interchange of views and suggestions free, 
frank, and without prejudice. 

Mr. Redmond, on behalf of the Nationalists, said 
shortly afterwards at Newcastle (November 14, 
1913): "It would be worth paying a big price to 
obtain a settlement by consent. There is no demand 
that we are not ready to consider carefully, so long as 
it is consistent with the principle of settlement based 
upon the national self-government of Ireland." 

Mr. Bonar Law's reply is to be found in speeches 
which he made at Wallsend (October 29) and at 
Norwich (November 13). It was to the effect that 
if the Government had any proposals to make, he 
and his friends would consider them " carefully, 
honestly, and with sole regard not to the interests of 
a Party, but to the welfare of the nation." " But," he 
added, " though I say that, I feel more strongly than 
ever that the plain, clear duty of the Government is 
to submit their proposals, either at a general election 
or by means of a Referendum, to the judgment of the 
people." 



ULSTER 161 

My rejoinder was given at Leeds (November 27) : 

" There is no ground for demanding a general 
election. It is neither constitutionally necessary nor 
practically expedient. ... I have no reason to com- 
plain of the spirit in which the invitation was received 
by, among others, the responsible leaders of the 
Opposition. ... It shall not be said, either now or 
hereafter, that my hand has closed any door which 
opens upon a reasonable and honourable way of 
peace." 

Mr. Law, however, detected, in the tone and some 
of the expressions of this speech, indications that all 
that was intended by Ministers was some illusory 
concession. Accordingly, speaking the next day 
(November 28) at Dublin, he said: 

" When we declared our readiness to consider any 
proposal he liked to make, I thought Mr. Asquith not 
only desired a settlement I am sure he does but 
that he had hopes of securing it. After his speech last 
night I think so no longer. I think the Prime Min- 
ister's speech at Leeds means that Mr. Redmond 
has given his orders, and that Mr. Asquith is not 
prepared to disobey them, or is determined to wait 
and see." 

There was, in the course of the autumn, much 
platform speaking on the subject, and some conver- 
sations took place under the seal of confidence be- 
tween leading men, but no substantial progress in the 
direction of accommodation was made. 

The situation at the beginning of 1914 was de- 
scribed in the King's Speech, at the opening of the 



i62 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

new session (February 10, 1914), in the following 
terms: 

" I regret that the efforts which have been made to 
arrive at a solution, by agreement, of the problems 
connected with the Government of Ireland have, so 
far, not succeeded. In a matter in which the hopes 
and fears of so many of my subjects are keenly con- 
cerned, and which, unless handled now with foresight, 
judgment, and in the spirit of mutual concession, 
threatens grave future difficulties, it is my most 
earnest wish that the good will and cooperation of 
men of all parties and creeds may heal dissension and 
lay the foundations of a lasting settlement." 

It was now the third, and under the Parliament 
Act the final, session of the Home Rule Bill. In 
moving the second reading (March 9) I dealt fully 
with the various expedients which had been suggested 
to or by Ministers in the course of their deliberations, 
to meet the case of Ulster without prejudice to the 
claims of the rest of Ireland. 

I said that we had tried to meet the Ulster diffi- 
culty in three different ways. The plan which com- 
mended itself very much to my own judgment was, in 
the name given to it by Sir Edward Grey, " Home 
Rule within Home Rule." It was the essence of this 
proposal that, as regards administration, Statutory 
Ulster should be, until the Imperial Parliament other- 
wise decided, entirely exempt from the executive 
authority of the Irish Parliament. I parted from it 
with regret and with reluctance, but it had not com- 
mended itself to any of the parties concerned. 



ULSTER 163 

The second suggestion was that the whole of Ire- 
land should be in the first instance included in the 
Bill; but that an option, after the lapse of a certain 
time, should be offered to Ulster counties to remove 
themselves from the jurisdiction of the Irish Legis- 
lature and Executive. This again had not proved an 
acceptable solution. 

The third road was that of Exclusion, and it was 
upon this line that the Government now asked Parlia- 
ment to proceed, not as a solution, but as an expedi- 
ent which might pave the way in time for a final 
settlement. The proposal was that any Ulster county 
might, by a vote of the majority of its parliamentary 
electors, stand out of the whole operation of the Bill 
for six years. Before Inclusion could become opera- 
tive, we calculated that there must be two general 
elections in Great Britain, and consequently the 
people would be able to reach a decision with ex- 
perience of the actual working of the Parliament in 
Dublin. 

Mr. Redmond, on behalf of the Nationalists, gave 
a reluctant assent to the Government compromise. 
" In my view," he said, " the Prime Minister has gone 
to the very extremest limits of concession. If these 
proposals of the Government be frankly accepted as 
the basis of agreement and peace, then we, on our 
side, are prepared to accept them in the same spirit." 

Its reception, however, on the part of the Oppo- 
sition was, to say the least, far from promising. 

" If the Government," said Mr. Bonar Law, 
" adhere to the condition that at the end of six years 



164 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the counties have to come in, I really cannot see how 
it is possible that the proposals can be accepted." 

Sir Edward Carson struck a more vehement and 
defiant note: " We do not/' said he, " want sentence 
of death with a stay of execution for six years. . . . 
I know very well that the motto of every Government 
it is pasted outside every Government Depart- 
ment is ' Peace in our time, O Lord! ' ... If you 
take your time limit away, I would feel it my duty to 
go over to Ulster and to call a Convention, but with 
this time limit in, and Ulster ready, as I believe, for 
any exigency at the present moment, I shall not go to 
Ulster." 

Mr. Churchill, a few days later (March 14) at 
Bradford, dealt with the situation in an outspoken 
and characteristic fashion. He described Sir Edward 
Carson's Convention as " a self-elected body, com- 
posed of persons who, to put it plainly, are engaged 
in a treasonable conspiracy. This Convention is gra- 
ciously to consider the matter while the Imperial 
Parliament stands on tiptoe outside the door wait- 
ing for the verdict." 

Mr. Churchill went on: 

" As long as it affects working men in England or 
Nationalist peasants in Ireland, there is no measure 
of military force which the Tory Party will not 
readily employ. They denounce all violence except 
their own. They uphold all law except the law they 
choose to break. They always welcome the applica- 
tion of force to others. But they themselves are to 
remain immune. They are to select from the Statute 



ULSTER 165 

Book the laws they will obey and the laws they will 
resist. 

" If Ulster seeks peace and fair play she can find 
it. She knows where to find it. If Ulstermen extend 
the hand of friendship, it will be clasped by Liberals 
and by their Nationalist countrymen, in all good 
faith and in all good will; but if there is no wish for 
peace; if every concession that is made is spurned and 
exploited; if every effort to meet their views is only 
to be used as a means of breaking down Home Rule, 
and of barring the way to the rest of Ireland; if 
Ulster is to become a tool in party calculations; if 
the civil and parliamentary systems under which we 
have dwelt so long, and our fathers before us, are to 
be brought to the rude challenge of force; if the 
Government and the Parliament of this great country 
and greater Empire are to be exposed to menace and 
brutality; if all the loose, wanton, and reckless 
chatter we have been forced to listen to these many 
months is in the end to disclose a sinister and revolu- 
tionary purpose; then I can only say to you: c Let 
us go forward together and put these grave matters 
to the proof! '" 

I am glad to be able to cull this vivid passage from 
the slowly withering rhetoric of a now half-forgotten 
controversy, as a proof, if proof were needed, that the 
twentieth century can hold its own with its prede- 
cessors in an oratorical competition. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE CURRAGH INCIDENT 



T, 



HE Home Rule Bill was read a second time in 
the third successive session on April 6, 1914. 

In the meanwhile a new electrical disturbance had 
been introduced into the unsettled political atmos- 
phere by what was known at the time as the 
" Curragh Incident." The commander in chief in Ire- 
land, Sir Arthur Paget, having received instructions 
in the middle of March to take the necessary precau- 
tionary steps to safeguard the depots in some parts 
of Ulster, assembled his brigadiers for a conference. 
He told them what his orders were, expressed his 
apprehension that their execution might lead to op- 
position from organized bodies of the Ulster Volun- 
teer Force, and desired to know what in that event 
were the intentions of his officers. Some of the officers 
interpreted the question in a wider sense than was 
intended, and one of the most distinguished of them, 
General Hubert Gough, commanding the 3d Cavalry 
Brigade, stated that, if their duty involved the initia- 
tion of active operations against Ulster, he and 
others in his Brigade would prefer to be dismissed. 

The officers in question, or some of them, were 
thereupon ordered to report themselves to the Adju- 
tant-General in London. They were told that all that 



THE CURRAGH INCIDENT 167 

was demanded by the Army Council was that, if and 
when orders should be given, they would be ready to 
do the duty which lay upon all persons in the military 
service of the Crown: to proceed to any part of 
Ireland, either for the protection of Government 
property, or for the assistance of the civil power in 
the maintenance of order and the preservation of 
peace. 

The officers expressed their willingness to dis- 
charge these duties and, with the approval of Sir A. 
Paget, they were ordered to rejoin their units in 
Ireland. 

A Memorandum was drawn up and carefully re- 
vised by the Cabinet, and when (in substance) pub- 
lished shortly afterwards, as an Army Order, met 
with general acceptance. It was in the following 
terms: 

1. No officer or soldier should in future be ques- 
tioned by his superior officer as to the attitude he will 
adopt, or as to his action, in the event of his being 
required to obey orders dependent on future or hypo- 
thetical contingencies. 

2. An officer or soldier is forbidden in future to 
ask for assurances as to orders which he may be 
required to obey. 

3. In particular, it is the duty of every officer and 
soldier to obey all lawful commands given to them 
through the proper channel, either for the safeguard- 
ing of public property, or the support of the civil 
power in the ordinary execution of its duty, or for 
the protection of the lives and property of the in- 
habitants in the case of disturbance of the peace. 



168 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Unfortunately, through a misunderstanding, for 
which no one was to blame, in answer to a request 
from General Gough (of which the Cabinet had no 
knowledge) that it might be made clear whether, if 
the Home Rule Bill became law, the officers would 
be called upon to enforce it under the expression 
" maintaining law and order ", the Secretary of State, 
Colonel Seely, had added, in the copy of the Cabinet 
Memorandum which he sent to the general, two para- 
graphs, one of which stated that His Majesty's Gov- 
ernment had no intention of taking advantage of the 
right (to use the forces of the Crown) " to crush 
political opposition to the policy or principles of the 
Home Rule Bill." Sir John French, Chief of the 
Imperial General Staff, and Sir Spencer Ewart, the 
Adjutant-General, initialled the Secretary of State's 
addition. 

When, later in the day, the document so amplified 
was brought to me, I at once took exception to the 
added paragraphs. I held, as did my colleagues, that 
if it was not right to ask an officer what he would do 
in a hypothetical contingency, still less could it be 
right for an officer to ask the Government to give him 
any such assurance. General Gough was accordingly 
informed that the two added paragraphs were not to 
be considered as operative. 

Colonel Seely, Sir John French and Sir Spencer 
Ewart felt it their duty to resign their offices, not 
from any difference between their view and that of 
the Government; the two latter because they had 
initialled the cancelled part of the Memorandum; 



THE CURRAGH INCIDENT 169 

and Colonel Seely, in order (as he stated in the 
House of Commons) " that it might not even appear 
that a Minister of the Crown had made a bargain 
with servants of the Crown as to the terms of their 



service." 



It is not necessary to say that Colonel Seely acted 
throughout with scrupulous regard, not only to the 
rules of honour, but to the instincts of chivalry. 

But a dangerous controversy had been raised, both 
inside the House of Commons and in the country. 
There was a serious risk of a struggle, more or less 
on party lines, upon the issue of " The Army versus 
Parliament." 

In the circumstances, I felt it right to add to my 
other burdens the duties of Secretary of State for 
War. The King handed me the Seals on March 30, 
and as in my own opinion and that of my legal ad- 
visers (though I took no salary) I thereby vacated 
my seat, I at once appealed to my constituents for 
reelection. 

I was not opposed, and made only a single speech 
in Fife, at Ladybank on April 4. 

I there cited and endorsed the doctrine laid down 
by the elder Pitt in the House of Commons in 1745: 

" The right of inquiring what measures may con- 
duce to the advantage and security of the public, 
belongs not to the Army, but to this House. To this 
House belongs the power of constituting the Army, 
or of advising His Majesty with regard to its con- 
stitution. Our armies have no better right to deter- 
mine for themselves than any other body of men, 



170 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

nor are we to suffer them to prescribe laws to the 
Legislature, or to govern those by whose authority 
they subsist." 

"The Army," I added, " will hear nothing of 
politics from me, and in return I expect to hear 
nothing of politics from the Army." 

This expectation was fulfilled. The tension which 
had been created was at once relaxed, and during 
my short tenure of the War Office my relations with 
the military authorities, and with those under their 
control, were throughout of complete cordiality and 
mutual confidence. 

It was some time, however, before the ground swell 
subsided in the House of Commons. When I got back 
there, I was bombarded daily with questions about 
the " Plot ", on some days amounting to one hundred 
in number; for the more ingenious spirits in the Op- 
position had started a question factory, with an out- 
side expert in charge, until, at last, I was compelled 
to announce that I should refuse to answer any more. 
The ferment, which had become largely artificial, 
rapidly cooled down. 

I was able, thanks to an admirable and most 
efficient secretariat I may mention, in particular, 
Mr. Greedy (now Sir Herbert Greedy, Permanent 
Under-Secretary, the late General Anthony Henley, 
and Mr. Eric Drummond (now Sir Eric Drummond, 
Secretary-General of the League of Nations) to 
keep pace with the work of the War Office, and I 
believe that nothing that required my personal deci- 
sion was ever in arrear. Having sat for the best part 



THE CURRAGH INCIDENT 171 

of eight years in the Chair of the Committee of Im- 
perial Defence, I was familiar with the larger prob- 
lems of strategy and general military policy; but I 
realized more clearly than ever, when I came to 
grapple with the daily routine of detail, how im- 
measurable was the debt owed by the Service to 
Lord Haldane; the greatest administrator who has 
presided over it since the days of Card well. I be- 
came keenly interested in the work, and if the War 
had not broken out, I should have retained the office 
for another year, in the hope of carrying out certain 
administrative developments which seemed to me to 
be ripe. 

After this necessary digression, I complete in the 
next chapter the narrative of our dealings with the 
Ulster problem. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

ULSTER (iv) 

iFTER the second reading for the third time 
of the Home Rule Bill, I intimated (May 12) 
that the Government would introduce an Amending 
Bill unless, as we hoped, a settlement by agreement 
could meanwhile be attained. That hope being again 
frustrated and the Home Rule Bill having been read 
a third time in the House of Commons, the Amend- 
ing Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 
June 23. It embodied the proposal that any Ulster 
County should be entitled to vote itself out of Home 
Rule for six years. 

The second reading was passed (by 273 to 10), 
but in Committee the House of Lords transformed it 
into a Bill to exclude the whole of Ulster without any 
time limit; a proposal which every one knew that 
neither the Nationalists nor the majority of the 
House of Commons could possibly be brought to 
entertain. In this unacceptable form it was brought 
down to the House of Commons on July 14. 

Meanwhile, on June 28, the Archduke Franz Fer- 
dinand had been murdered at Serajevo. The storm 
clouds were gathering in the international sky. 

In a situation of such gravity it was urgent that 
no step should be left unattempted to reconcile our 



ULSTER 173 

domestic dissensions. His Majesty, acting upon the 
advice of His Ministers, summoned representatives 
of the British and Irish parties to a Conference at 
Buckingham Palace " with the object of discussing 
outstanding issues in relation to the problem of Irish 
Government." 
The composition of the Conference was as follows: 

Chairman The Speaker 

~ . [Mr. Asquith 

Government < . . T , , ~ 

\Mr. Lloyd George 

_ . . [Lord Lansdowne 

Opposition \Mr.BonarLaw 

Mr. John Redmond 



Irish Nationalists ^ - . T..,, 

Mr. Dillon 

Ulster Unionists (^ir Edward Carson 

[Captain J. Craig 

The King opened the proceedings on July 21, with 
a short address in the course of which he said: 

" My intervention at this moment may be regarded 
as a new departure. But the exceptional circum- 
stances under which you are brought together justify 
my action. For months we have watched with deep 
misgivings the course of events in Ireland. The trend 
has been surely and steadily towards an appeal to 
force, and to-day the cry of Civil War is on the lips 
of the most responsible and sober-minded of my 
people. 

" We have in the past endeavoured to act as a 
civilizing example in the world, and to me it is un- 
thinkable, as it must be to you, that we should be 



174 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

brought to the brink of fratricidal strife upon issues 
apparently so capable of adjustment as those which 
you are now asked to consider, if handled in a spirit 
of generous compromise. . . . 

" You represent in one form or another the vast 
majority of my subjects at home. . . . You also have 
a deep interest in my dominions oversea, who are 
scarcely less concerned in a prompt and friendly 
settlement of this question. 

" I regard you then, in this matter, as Trustees 
for the honour and peace of all. 

" Your responsibilities are indeed great. The time 
is short. You will, I know, employ it to the fullest 
advantage, and be patient, earnest and conciliatory in 
view of the magnitude of the interests at stake. I 
pray that God, in His infinite wisdom, may guide 
your deliberations, so that they may result in the joy 
of peace and honourable settlement." 

This address was the subject of somewhat critical 
interrogation in the House of Commons. I stated, in 
reply to questions (July 22), that "the speech 
delivered by the King was sent to me in the 
ordinary way by His Majesty the day before, and 
I take the whole responsibility for it. The King 
left it to the discretion of the Conference to deter- 
mine whether the speech should be published, and 
the Conference decided unanimously in favour of 
publication. 

In reply to a further inquiry, the next day, as to 
the passage in the speech which referred to the " cry 
of Civil War", I said: 



ULSTER 175 

" In my understanding the sentence in question 
was not intended, and ought not to be construed, as 
saying more than what is obviously true; that the 
apprehension of Civil strife has been widely enter- 
tained and expressed by responsible and sober- 
minded persons; among whom I may perhaps include 
myself." 

The Conference held four meetings at Buckingham 
Palace on July 21, 22, 23 and 24, the Speaker being 
on each occasion in the Chair. The discussions were 
carried on in a courteous and friendly spirit, and 
with a real desire to find a way to agreement. They 
turned entirely on the geographical demarcation of 
the area to be excluded, temporarily or permanently, 
from the operation of the Home Rule Bill. There was 
a debatable territory, particularly in the two counties 
of Fermanagh and Tyrone, where the racial and re- 
ligious intermixture presented exceptionally intricate 
difficulties. I confess that I hoped to the last that 
they might be overcome; but it was not to be. On 
July 24 it was my painful duty to communicate to the 
House of Commons the Speaker's report: 

" The possibility of defining an area to be excluded 
from the operation of the Government of Ireland Bill 
was considered. The Conference being unable to 
agree, either in principle or in detail, upon such an 
area, brought its meetings to a conclusion. JAMES 
W. LOWTHER." 

On the same day (July 24) the Government were 
informed of the terms of the Ultimatum which Aus- 
tria had delivered to Serbia. 



176 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

The Amending Bill was down for second reading 
in the House of Commons on July 30. I saw Mr. 
Bonar Law privately on the morning of that day, and 
he agreed with me that, in view of the international 
situation, its consideration must be put off. Accord- 
ingly, when the House met in the afternoon I moved 
its postponement, and in doing so I used the follow- 
ing sentences: 

" We are met to-day under conditions of gravity 
which are almost unparalleled in the experience of 
every one of us. Issues of peace and war are hanging 
in the balance, and with them the risk of a catas- 
trophe of which it is impossible to measure either the 
dimensions or the effects. In these circumstances it 
is of vital importance in the interest of the whole 
world that this country, which has no interests of its 
own directly at stake, should present a united front, 
and be able to speak and act with the authority of an 
undivided nation. If we were to proceed to-day with 
the first Order on the paper, we should inevitably, 
unless the debate was conducted in an artificial tone, 
be involved in acute controversy in regard to domestic 
differences, whose importance to ourselves no one 
here, in any quarter of the House, is disposed to dis- 
parage or belittle. I need not say more than that such 
a use of our time at such a moment might have in- 
jurious and lastingly injurious effects upon the inter- 
national situation." 

The leader of the Opposition expressed his con- 
currence, and the further consideration of the Bill 
was indefinitely postponed. 



ULSTER 177 

Little more than a week later we were at war. 

The Home Rule Bill and the Welsh Church Bill, 
under the provisions of the Parliament Act, received 
the Royal Assent on September 18. They were ac- 
companied by a Suspensory Act, which in effect sus- 
pended their operations until the end of the War. 
I gave, further, on behalf of the Government, a pledge 
that the Home Rule Bill " should not come into 
operation until Parliament should have the fullest 
opportunity by an Amending Bill of altering, modi- 
fying or qualifying its provisions in such a way as to 
secure at any rate the general consent both of Ireland 
and the United Kingdom." (House of Commons, 
September 15, 1914.) 



PART SIX 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

PARLIAMENT: PARTY CHANGES 

UuRING the fifty years, 1868-1918, most of 
which have been covered by the survey in this book, 
there were eleven Parliaments. If we omit the second 
Parliament elected in 1910, which was prolonged to 
an abnormal duration by the War, their average term 
of life was about four years. But for the two excep- 
tionally short ones, elected in November, 1885, and 
January, 1910, respectively, neither of which lasted 
for a year, the average would work out at nearer five 
years than four; and four of them (1868, 1874, 1886, 
1900) approached or even exceeded six years. The 
two substantial enlargements in the number of the 
electorate made, the one in 1867-1868 and the other 
in 1884-1885, and the introduction of Secret Voting 
in 1872, do not seem to have had any appreciable 
effect on the stability of Administrations or the dura- 
tion of Parliaments. 

At the successive general elections, which substi- 
tuted a new for an old House of Commons, the law 
of the " swing of the pendulum " operated for the 
most part almost automatically. The chief apparent 
exception was due to the raising of the Home Rule 
issue by Mr. Gladstone in 1886. Except for the three 



182 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

years between 1892 and 1895, when a Liberal Gov- 
ernment lived almost from day to day on a com- 
posite and precarious majority, it may be said that 
the Irish controversy kept the Liberal Party out of 
power for the best part of twenty years. This was, in 
part at any rate, the result of a chapter of accidents. 
The confident predictions of all the political weather 
gaugers, as late as the autumn of 1890, gave the 
Liberals at the next election a substantial working 
majority; but the sudden emergence of the Parnell 
Scandal, with its disintegrating effects upon the Home 
Rule Party, both in Ireland and Great Britain, made 
havoc of the calculations of the prophets. The 
" khaki " election of 1900, which kept the Unionist 
Government in office, was, as the events of the next 
few years showed, of the nature of what is called in 
the House of Commons a " Snap Division." A 
Liberal majority was therefore overdue at the begin- 
ning of 1906, though it was no doubt swollen to un- 
precedented and unnatural dimensions by the mala- 
droitness with which the fiscal issue had been both 
raised and handled. 

In the party composition of the House of Commons 
there was, of course, in the earlier years, a corre- 
sponding uniformity of change. 1 The two-party sys- 
tem received a blow at the hands of Mr. Parnell. He 
was largely responsible, as we have seen, for the over- 

1 One of the most brilliant of English statesmen and political writers, 
who saw the birth and infancy of our Party system, George Savile, 
Marquis of Halifax, says in his " Political thoughts ": " Ignorance maketh 
most men go into a Party, and Shame keepeth them from getting out 
of it." 



PARLIAMENT: PARTY CHANGES 183 

throw of the Gladstone Government in the summer of 
1885, and for the Liberal electoral reverses in the 
urban constituencies of England in the ensuing 
autumn. When he came back to Westminster, in Jan- 
uary, 1886, with a serried array of eighty-six drilled 
and disciplined followers, the orientation of the Party 
System was permanently upset. Later in the same 
session, the Liberal Unionists swarmed off from the 
parent hive, and for some years, while working for 
the most part with the Conservatives, maintained a 
position of almost ostentatious independence. Thus 
for nearly ten years (1886-1895) there were four 
recognized parties in the House of Commons, each 
with funds, Whips, and an organization, both inside 
and outside Parliament, of its own. 

The absorption of the Liberal Unionists by the 
Conservatives, which became practically complete in 
the Parliament of 1906, though I believe that Mr. 
Joseph Chamberlain never changed his own designa- 
tion, was preceded and accompanied by the appear- 
ance on the scene of an Independent Labour Party. 

When I entered the House of Commons (1886) 
there was already a group of Labour members; most 
of them Trade Union leaders from the mining dis- 
tricts in the north of England Burt, Fenwick, and 
others; as fine a set of men in character and political 
intelligence as have sat in the House in my time. 
They can hardly be said to have had a regular parlia- 
mentary organization; they had no recognized leader 
or Whips; and on almost all important issues they 
acted and voted with the Liberals. Two of them be- 



184 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

came Under-Secretaries in Liberal Governments: 
Henry Broadhurst in 1886, and Thomas Burt (who 
seconded my Amendment to the Address which 
turned out the Unionist Government) in 1892. 

Two remarkable men, both known as " agitators " 2 
who represented new, though sharply contrasted 
types, Keir Hardie and John Burns, were elected to 
the House of Commons in 1892. Hardie, who had no 
Liberal affiliations, was the real pioneer of the parlia- 
mentary Labour Party; for a time the older Labour 
members were inclined to look at him askance. 
Burns, with his rare gifts and his challenging per- 
sonality, pursued an independent line, and ultimately, 
at Campbell-Bannerman's invitation, became the first 
Labour man to enter a Cabinet (1905). 

It was in the House elected in 1906 that Labour 
first emerged as a separate and definitely organized 
group. Ramsay MacDonald, Clynes, and Snowden 
were its most conspicuous new members. The group 
began to elect a Sessional Chairman, Hardie 's succes- 
sor in the post being Arthur Henderson, who had been 
a Liberal agent, and in 1895 was chosen as a colleague 
with John Morley in the candidature for Newcastle. 
The parliamentary ranks of Labour were further 
strengthened in 1910, when they were recruited 
(among other newcomers) by the formidable figure 
of J. H. Thomas. It is, however, significant of the 
slowness with which new forces are formally recog- 
nized in our political life, that Labour, as such, was 
not invited to separate representation, either in the 

2 See note at end of chapter. 



PARLIAMENT: PARTY CHANGES 185 

Constitutional Conference of 1910, or in the later one 
held at Buckingham Palace on the eve of the War in 
July, 1914. 

To complete the narrative it is necessary to put 
on record that the Nationalists were wiped out of 
existence as a parliamentary factor in 1918; that the 
establishment of the Irish Free State a few years 
later as one of the British Dominions deprived the 
term " Unionism " of all living significance; and that 
there are now in Parliament only three Parties 
Conservative, Labour and Liberal. 

NOTE 

Agitators and Agitation 

The term " Agitator " seems to have been first 
used to describe the two representatives of the rank 
and file of each regiment in the parliamentary Army, 
who (under the " Solemn Engagement of the Army ", 
June, 1647) were to sit on the General Council of the 
Army. " The word/ 7 says Sir C. H. Firth, " meant 
simply ' Agents,' and had none of the sinister signifi- 
cance which modern usage has given it." None the 
less, the " Agitators " soon began to meddle with 
politics; and in " The Case of the Army Truly 
Stated " (October, 1647) they " demanded Manhood 
Suffrage, equal Electoral Divisions, Biennial Parlia- 
ments, and by implication the Abolition of Monarchy 
and the House of Lords," 8 a fairly drastic pro- 
gramme. It appears that Manhood Suffrage was the 

3 See Firth, " Cromwell's Army ", p. 357. 



i86 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

matter which they had most at heart; it brought them 
into heated controversy with Cromwell and Ireton, 
who held that the " suffrage was a right attached to 
the possession of property." 4 The attempt to intro- 
duce representative government into the Army, 
frowned upon by Cromwell and the superior officers, 
soon broke down, 5 and the experiment was never tried 
again. 

A curious and, so far as I know, still unwritten 
chapter of English history would be one on Agitation. 
It need not go so far back as John Ball, Wat Tyler, 
and Jack Cade, but might start with the picturesque 
figure of John Lilburne, who gave so much trouble to 
Oliver Cromwell and his Council of State. So great 
was Lilburne's hold on the affections of the people 
that during his trial, when he conducted his own case 
with masterly skill, and is said to have been the first 
accused person in England who successfully de- 
manded a copy of his indictment, the Government 
in a panic filled London with troops. " In spite of 
their officers, the soldiers shouted and sounded their 
trumpets when they heard that Lilburne was ac- 
quitted." 6 John Wilkes and (after their fashion) 
Home Tooke and Sir Francis Burdett kept up the 
succession, but Cobbett is most clearly marked out 
as the lineal spiritual descendant of Lilburne. 

* " Cromwell's Army ", p. 359. 
Ibid., p. 362. 

6 See Sir C. Firth's interesting account of Lilburne and his popularity 
in Dictionary of National Biography. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THIRD PARTIES 



M. 



.UCH ink has been and is being spilt on the 
" Three Party " phase in our political development, 
and particularly in elucidating, or darkening, the 
problem of its possible or probable duration. 

It is not, of course, a new phenomenon. 1 It was 
very nearly brought into being by O'Connell and 
his " Tail " in the long-spun-out struggle for daily 
existence of Lord Melbourne's Government. It be- 
came a serious actuality after the Protectionist split 
in the Tory Party in 1846. At the general election of 
1847 a House of Commons was returned which was 
composed as follows: Liberals, 325; Tory Protection- 
ists, 226; Peelites, 105. 

The Peelites were thus, even numerically, a by no 
means negligible third party. They included at that 
time the greatest of living Parliamentarians in their 
Chief, Sir Robert Peel, and, with the exception of 
Disraeli, practically the whole of the intellectual and 
debating power of the Opposition. The feeble finance 

1 The drawbacks of a two-party system from the point of view of 
the "middle' 1 voter seem to have been felt in Ancient Rome: "Bum 
tribuni consulesque ad se quisque omnia trahant, nihil relictum esse vi- 
rium in Medio " Livy, II, 5 7. 



188 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

of Lord John Russell's Administration (1846-1852), 
the miserable show which it made over the popular 
outburst against " Papal Aggression ", and finally the 
split between its two most formidable members 
the Prime Minister and Lord Palmerston reduced 
it to an impotence which almost recalled the worst 
days of Lord Melbourne. The Peelites suffered an 
irreparable loss in the sudden and premature death in 
1850 of their head. At the same time the Die Hard 
Conservatives who had deserted (or been deserted 
by) Peel, after a good deal of fumbling and with 
widespread repugnance, had been driven to accept 
the leadership in the House of Commons of their one 
man of genius, Disraeli, and the electors outside be- 
lieved him, with reason, to be too astute to sanction a 
return to the follies of Protection. 

The consequence of all these concurring causes was 
that when the " Who's-Who " Cabinet of Derby- 
Disraeli slipped into office, and appealed to the coun- 
try in 1852, the composition of the House of Com- 
mons was substantially changed. The figures now 
became Conservative, 310; Liberals, 270; Peel- 
ites, 40; the remaining 40 being largely made 
up of a curious and ill-compacted group of Irish 
who were afterwards known as the " Pope's Brass 
Band." 

The party who had suffered the heaviest diminu- 
tion in numbers were the Peelites, but they continued 
for some years to come, if not to dominate, at any 
rate to dislocate, the parliamentary situation. Dis- 
raeli's well-known gibe represents them as constantly 




Photograph by Dickinson 



LORD HARTINGTON 
Eighth Duke of Devonshire 



THIRD PARTIES 189 

putting themselves up for auction and always buying 
themselves in. They were not popular, and their 
movements were quite incalculable. 2 No party was 
anxious for their cooperation, and yet no party felt 
strong enough to do without them: for they con- 
tained, beyond question, the best speakers and the 
most capable administrators in Parliament. The 
Coalition Government of 1853, which was responsible 
for the Crimean War, had at its head a Peelite Prime 
Minister, and among its Peelite members were Glad- 
stone, Graham, Sidney Herbert, and Newcastle. Thus 
the Peelites almost balanced their Whig colleagues; a 
fact which, when the comparative numerical strength 
of their followers in the House of Commons is remem- 
bered, is a perhaps unique illustration of what may 
be done by a third party. 

The next few years witnessed the gradual extinc- 
tion of the Peelites as a separate political entity, and 
their absorption into the Liberal ranks, which was 
finally accomplished by the formation of Lord 
Palmerston's Cabinet in 1859. It is characteristic of 
them that their spirit and habit of detachment seems 
to have persisted up to the last moment. On the 
Amendment to the Address moved by Lord Harting- 
ton, which turned out Lord Derby's second Govern- 
ment in that year, most of the Peelites voted for the 
Amendment, but the most eminent of them, Mr. 
Gladstone, went into the Government Lobby with 

2 A notable instance is the resignation of Gladstone, Graham, and 
Herbert from Lord Palmerston's new Government in 1855, only a fort- 
night after they had joined it. 



ipo FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Disraeli and his followers. Within a fortnight he had 
accepted the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer in 
Lord Palmerston's new Administration. 

The truth is that in the 'fifties, after it had become 
an acknowledged fact that Protection was not only 
dead but buried, it is difficult to discover any issue 
of principle which separated the various parties in the 
State. Each of them from time to time coquetted 
with parliamentary reform in a half-hearted fashion; 
a Reform Bill of sorts was part of the stock-in-trade 
of successive Governments, whatever their political 
complexion; and the climax of unreality was reached 
when in 1858 Disraeli produced his " fancy fran- 
chises." 

The serious subjects of contention, apart from the 
China War, and the displacement after the mutiny of 
the East India Company, were matters of adminis- 
tration and finance, in which departments both the 
old parties were badly off for competent men. 
Finance in particular was their weakest point. Dis- 
raeli did not profess to be more than an amateur, and 
describes how, when Lord Derby first offered him the 
post of Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1852, he de- 
murred: " A branch of which I have no knowledge." 
Lord Derby replied: " You know as much as Mr. 
Canning did. They give you the figures." 8 Sir 
George Cornewall Lewis was the Whig financial ex- 
pert, but Mr. Gladstone, who had the greatest ad- 
miration for his scholarship, judgment, and general 

8 Buckle, III, 344. Compare the account already given of Lord R. 
Churchill's initiation in the same office thirty years later. 



THIRD PARTIES 191 

capacity, used to make mincemeat of his Budgets/ 
After the death of Peel, in the sphere of finance Glad- 
stone exercised a supreme and unchallengeable 
authority. 

The causes which led to the disappearance of these 
two historic third parties are no longer in operation. 
There are, it is true, prophets who look upon our 
present party alignments as largely a survival, and 
as wholly precarious and provisional. It is easy on 
paper to split up the political forces which are now 
arrayed in the field into two potential camps 
Moderates and Extremists and to assume that 
they must contend against each other for the mastery 
in the battlefields of the future. It may be that such 
a calamity for a calamity it would be is in store 
for our British Democracy. I do not believe it to be 
imminent, or even foreseeable. In my judgment, the 
third-party system, despite its manifold and obvious 
inconveniences, has come to stay. So long as there 
are real and living issues such as there are be- 
tween the three, though there may be personal shift- 
ings and readjustments, it is better for the health of 
our politics that they should not be cloaked or com- 
promised. Nothing is so demoralizing to the tone of 
public life, or so belittling to the stature of public 
men, as the atmosphere of a coalition. 

4 " I almost always agree with Lewis on other subjects, but in trade 
and finance I do not find his opinions satisfactory" (1860). Morley, 
" Gladstone ", II, 22. 



CHAPTER XXX 



THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 



I 



N this chapter I deal only with the House of Com- 
mons, with which I was directly conversant for the 
best part of forty years. 

There is no more striking illustration of the im- 
mobility of British institutions than the House of 
Commons. It is difficult for any one, without an ade- 
quate equipment of historic imagination, to realize 
its essential continuity to-day with the House which 
for twenty years Walpole manipulated by coarse 
expedients but with infinite dexterity; which the 
brothers Pelham and the rival Whig families kept in 
leash with an organized system of thinly disguised 
corruption for another twenty or more; over which 
the dominating and meteoric genius of the Great 
Commoner hovered like a spell during a brief but 
glorious epoch; which sank to perhaps its lowest 
depth of impotence under the leadership of Lord 
North; which rose again in the long reign of the 
younger Pitt to the splendours of the classic age of 
British oratory; which, after his death, suffered a 
long and tame eclipse, sparsely and sporadically 
lighted up by the Cannings and the Broughams and 
the Romillys; which, since the Reform of 1832, has 



THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 193 

numbered among the potent figures to whom it has 
given its homage men so diverse in genius and ac- 
complishment as Peel and Russell, Palmerston and 
Bright, Disraeli and Gladstone. Yet which of our in- 
stitutions has ostensibly been so much modified and 
transformed, or has undergone such a revolution in 
the antecedents and qualifications of those who com- 
pose it? l 

It has witnessed during the last hundred years 
the abolition of the pocket boroughs, the " nurseries 
of young genius ", the safe refuges of great men 
under a temporary cloud of electoral misfortune; the 
enfranchisement step by step of the middle classes, 
and the urban and rural proletariat; the introduction 
of secret voting; even the establishment of payment 
of members; a series of " death-knells " to our An- 
cient Constitution, each one of which in turn has been 
confidently predicted to presage the speedy and in- 
evitable extinction of its greatness. Upon that fore- 
cast at one or another of its stages, men so widely 
apart in training and in intellectual competence as 
Croker and Bagehot would have been at one. And 
yet there it is; and it would almost seem as if it might 
inscribe over its portals Queen Elizabeth's motto, 
Semper eadem. 

If the shades of Bubb Dodington or George 
Selwyn, or of the most illustrious of its silent mem- 

1 Lady Cowper writes to a correspondent in 1826: " People think 
this new Parliament will be a curious one. There are three stockbrokers 
in it ; which was never the case with one before." " Lady Palmerston 
and Her Times," I, 131 



194 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

bers, Edward Gibbon, could revisit it, they would 
soon find themselves at home. They would quickly 
begin to breathe again the familiar atmosphere; and 
even in the externals of ritual and practice they would 
recognize the Speaker in his robes, the mace on the 
table, the ceremonious obeisance to the Chair of 
members entering or leaving the Chamber, the oc- 
casional apparition of Black Rod knocking at the 
door, bowing his way up the floor, and repeating 
the venerable formula which invites the House 
to attend in another place the King or his Com- 
missioners. 

Nor is the essential identity of the House confined 
to, or indeed dependent upon, the maintenance of 
these consecrated forms. 

Macaulay's famous description of it when he was 
still a young member is worth recalling: "It is the 
most peculiar audience in the world. I should say 
that a man's being a good writer, a good orator at the 
Bar, a good mob orator, or a good orator in debating 
clubs, was rather a reason for expecting him to fail 
than for expecting him to succeed in the House of 
Commons. A place where Walpole succeeded and 
Addison failed; where Dundas succeeded and Burke 
failed; where Peel now succeeds and where Mackin- 
tosh fails; where Erskine and Scarlett were dinner 
bells; where Lawrence and Jekyll, the two wittiest 
men, or nearly so, of their time were thought bores, is 
surely a very strange place. And yet I feel the whole 
character of the place growing upon me. I begin to 
like what others about me like, and to disapprove 



THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 195 

what they disapprove. Canning used to say that the 
House, as a body, had better taste than the man of 
best taste in it, and I am very much inclined to think 
that Canning was right." 2 

This was written nearly a hundred years ago, but 
it is as true to-day as it was then. The corporate 
judgment on the merits and demerits of its members, 
of an assembly always divided, and often inflamed by 
party prepossessions and prejudices, is a remarkable 
and perhaps a unique phenomenon. The instinct of 
the House, though commonly right, is not, of course, 
unerring; it has had undeserving favourites, and has 
refused its ear to men who ought to have commanded 
its respectful attention. Lord Castlereagh 8 belonged 
to the former class; Burke and Mackintosh to the 
latter. There have been similar instances, but none 
that I can recall so conspicuous, in our own time. 
Equally characteristic of what may be called the cor- 
porate conscience of the House is the rapid subsidence 
of temper and ill-feeling after the most tumultuous 
and even outrageous scenes such, for instance, as 

2 In an equally charactenstic passage written much later, he enlarges 
on the paradox that "parliamentary government is government by 
speaking", and after citing the cases of Charles Townshend and Wind- 
ham, he adds " It was a pleasure to listen to those accomplished and 
ingenious Orators But in a perilous crisis they would be found inferiors 
in all the qualifications of Rulers to such a man as Oliver Cromwell, 
who talked nonsense, or as William the Silent, who did not talk at all " 
(See Jennings's " Anecdotal History of the British Parliament ", p. 305 ) 

8 Brougham says of Castlereagh that "his diction set all imitation, 
perhaps all description, at defiance." Lord Russell recalls an occasion 
when, " after speaking for an hour and a half tediously and confusedly ", 
he declared, " I have now proved that the Tower of London is a Com- 
mon Law principle." Yet the coolness and intrepidity with which "he 
exposed himself unabashed to the most critical audience in the world" 
seem to have endeared him to the House. (Jennings, pp. 187-188 ) 



196 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the fracas described in a previous page over the 
"Guillotine" in 1893; or the noisy escapade dur- 
ing one of the crises of the Home Rule Bill, when 
a member went so far as to throw a book at a 
Minister. 

There can be no doubt that the " manners " of the 
House are much better than they were in pre-demo- 
cratic days. The " scenes ", of which the descriptive 
reporters make so much, are very mild affairs com- 
pared with the demonstrations that used to be of 
frequent occurrence. Matters were, perhaps, at their 
worst in the years immediately succeeding the passing 
of the Reform Act in 1832, although Brougham had 
already compared the House to a menagerie. An 
anonymous book entitled " Random Recollections of 
the House of Commons from 1830 to 1835 ", by 
" One of No Party ", London: Smith Elder and Com- 
pany, 1836, gives some vivid pictures of the style 
of invective and the methods of interruption which 
were then not uncommon. Take, for instance, 
the close, after indescribable tumult, of a wordy 
duel between O'Connell (whose bludgeon no one 
else could wield) and Mr. Shaw, a champion of 
the Irish Protestants, on the subject of a grant to 
Maynooth. 

Mr. Shaw, still labouring under great excitement, 
said: " The honourable member has charged me with 
being actuated by a spiritual ferocity, but my ferocity 
is not of that description which takes for, its symbol 
a death's head and crossbones." 

Mr. O'Connell (addressing himself to Mr. Shaw 



THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 197 

personally, and not to the Chairman) : " Yours is a 
calf's head and jaw bones." * 

The anonymous writer proceeds to describe a 
number of " scenes "; one may suffice as a specimen: 

An honourable Member whose name I suppress, rose 
amidst the most tremendous uproar to address the 
House. 

" I rise, Sir," (ironical cheers, mingled with all 
sorts of zoological sounds), " for the purpose of stat- 
ing that I have " (Oh! oh! bah! and sounds resem- 
bling the bleating of a sheep.) " Honourable gentle- 
men may endeavour to put me down by their unman- 
nerly interruptions, but I have a duty to perform to my 
con " (Ironical laughter, loud coughing, sneez- 
ing and a yawning extended to an incredible length.) 
" I tell honourable gentlemen who choose to conduct 
themselves in such a way that I am not to be put 

down by " (Groans, coughs, sneezings, hems, and 

various animal sounds, some of which closely imitated 
the yelping of a dog and the squeaking of a pig.) " I 

appeal ." (Cock-e-leeri-o-co! The imitation in 

this case of the crowing of a cock was so remarkably 
good that not even the most staid and orderly mem- 
bers in the House could preserve their gravity ).* " I 
say, Sir, this is most unbecoming conduct on the part 
of an assembly calling itself," etc. (Bow-wow-wow 
and bursts of laughter. Mew-mew, and renewed 
laughter.) " Sir, I claim the protection of the Chair." 

The Speaker here again rose and called out " Or- 

4 " Random Recollections of the House of Commons ", p. 72 Hap- 
pily such interchanges, then as now, do not appear to have affected per- 
sonal relations. " Some nights afterwards both gentlemen were seen 
walking arm-in-arm up Parliament Street on their way home." Ibid, 
p. 67. 

B A similar scene is described in S Warren's once popular novel, 
"Ten Thousand a Year", published in 1841. 



198 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

der, Order " in a loud and angry tone, on which the 
uproar in some measure subsided. 6 

From Trevelyan's " Macaulay " I take the account 
of another scene. Macaulay, who had only recently 
returned from India, records his impressions of a 
sitting in June, 1839: 

I have never seen such unseemly demeanour, or 
heard such scurrilous language in Parliament. Lord 
Norreys was whistling and making all sorts of noises. 
. . . O'Connell was so rudely interrupted that he 
used the expression, " beastly bellowings." ... A 
short and most amusing scene passed between O'Con- 
nell and Lord Maidstone. " If," said Lord Maid- 
stone, " the word beastly is retracted, I shall be 
satisfied." 

" I do not care whether the noble lord be satisfied 
or not." 

" I wish you would give me satisfaction." 

" I advise the noble lord to carry his liquor 
meekly." 

At last the tumult ended from absolute physical 
weakness. It was past one, and the steady bellowers 
of the Opposition had been howling from six o'clock 
with little interruption. 7 

I have given a number of illustrations in the course 
of the preceding pages of the various phases of parlia- 
mentary oratory during the last fifty years. Here 
there can be no doubt that there are changes of 
fashion which make the good speaking of one genera- 
tion differ widely from the good speaking of another; 

6 " Random Recollections ", pp. 77-79. 

7 Macaulay 's " Life and Letters ", pp. 392-393. 



THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 199 

bad speaking is always much the same. Perhaps the 
most salient contrast between the oratory of the 
House of Commons of the twentieth century and 
its predecessors is in the matter of length. Lord 
Brougham says of the greatest of all parliamentary 
orators, the elder Pitt: " He was prolix in the whole 
texture of his discourse, and he was certainly the first 
who introduced into our Senate the practice, adopted 
in the American War by Mr. Burke, and continued by 
others, of long speeches speeches of two and three 
hours by which oratory has gained little, and busi- 
ness less." Brougham himself in the most famous of 
his efforts, on Law Reform, in February, 1828, occu- 
pied six hours. Lord Palmerston's " Civis Romanus 
Sum" speech in June, 1850, which covered not 
merely the Don Pacifico case, but his whole foreign 
policy, lasted five hours. And these feats of endur- 
ance were rivalled in later years both by Mr. Disraeli 
and Mr. Gladstone. I remember Mr. Balfour telling 
me that, when he first entered the House in 1874, a 
full-dress debate was not considered to be properly 
rounded off, unless these two illustrious gladiators 
spoke in succession, usually at or after midnight, for 
an hour and a half or two hours apiece. 

Happily, as one may be permitted to say, these 
Gargantuan meals are not required by or suited to 
the appetite of our degenerate days. Several causes 
have contributed to bring about the modern fashion 
of comparative brevity. One of these is the curtail- 
ment of the sittings of the House by the establish- 
ment of twelve o'clock and eleven o'clock rules. An- 



200 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

other, and a more potent one, is the condensation by 
the Press of its parliamentary report. The newspapers 
can no longer afford to devote column after column 
of their space to House of Commons duels. They are 
obliged by modern conditions to go to press hours 
earlier than used to be the case, and the tendency is 
to substitute more and more a readable summary by 
an expert observer for the verbatim report. An inci- 
dental result has been that the leading speakers, who 
used to wind up the debate, prefer now to speak 
earlier in the sitting. 

The anonymous author of " Random Recollections, 
1830-1835 " records that " it very rarely happens 
that any of the best speakers address the House be- 
fore ten o'clock. ... A succession of fourth or fifth- 
rate orators will almost invariably be found on their 
legs from the meeting of the House until that hour." 8 

The essentials of parliamentary speaking remain 
what they always were, but among the minor changes 
in oratorical method, one of the most noteworthy is 
the disuse of classical quotation. The members of 
the House of Commons in the eighteenth century, 
though in other respects indifferently educated, had 
for the most part a smattering of Latin, which they 
had retained from their public school and university 
days, and which enabled them now and again to 
recognize the tags from Virgil and Horace with which 
the leading speakers were accustomed to pelt one 
another. Burke, in his great speech on Fox's India 
Bill in 1783, probably presumed too much on the 

8 Page 55 



THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 201 

width of their reading when he recited five lines from 
one of the worst of Roman poets, Silius Italicus. The 
convention of Latin quotation persisted, despite the 
transformation in the personnel of the House, during 
the greater part of the nineteenth century. 9 It was 
never turned to a finer rhetorical purpose than in Mr. 
Gladstone's famous citation from Lucretius (six 
lines) on the Affirmation Bill of i883. 10 But it was 
already on the wane. Sir S. Northcote records a con- 
versation with Lord Beaconsfield in the last year of 
his life (July, 1880), in the course of which both 
" lamented the disuse of classical quotations in the 
House of Commons." " He (Lord Beaconsfield) said 
he had at one time tried to revert to them, but the 
Speaker (Denison) had asked him not. ' Why? Do 
you think they don't like it? ' ' Oh, no! The House 
rather likes it, but you are making John Russell rest- 
less, and I am afraid of his taking to it too. He gave 
us six or seven lines of Virgil the other night, which 
had not the smallest connexion with his speech or 
with his subject.' " u 

During my parliamentary lifetime the practice has 
fallen into almost complete desuetude. I have once 
or twice made fitful attempts to revive it, but re- 

9 E g., the prolonged duel over the Trojan Horse between Mr. Glad- 
stone and Mr. Lowe in 1866-1867 See ante, I, 15. 

10 The orator prefaced his quotation with the perhaps over-sanguine 
words: " Many of the members of the House will recollect the majestic 
and noble lines . . ." 

11 Buckle, " Disraeli ", VI, 584. This conversation throws a vivid 
light on the width of Disraeli's literary range, and the originality of 
his critical judgments. It contains the priceless (and most just) remark 
that " Euripides had a good deal of fun in him." 



202 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

ceived little encouragement. Lord Curzon, in his 
Rede lecture on " Modern Parliamentary Elo- 
quence ", states that in his own time he could only 
recall two Greek quotations in the House of Commons 
one by Mr. Asquith, the other by the late Lord 
Percy. I regret that I cannot recall either occasion. 
Greek was, I believe, not uncommonly quoted in 
Grattan's Parliament, but it was never the custom at 
Westminster, and the single recorded attempt to in- 
troduce it in the eighteenth century was immediately 
squelched by the ridicule of Sheridan. 12 

Various endeavours have been made in our days, 
with more or less success, to economize the labours of 
the House by such expedients as Grand Committees, 
and to abbreviate its sittings by an earlier closing 
hour. On the whole these changes have been justified 
by experience. By far the least successful of the 
experiments was that initiated by Mr. Balfour, of a 
daily sitting at two o'clock, with an adjournment 
from half-past seven to nine. We still have from time 
to time demands that the House should sit in the 
morning as it used to do in olden times. In my 
opinion such a change would be both impolitic and 
unworkable. It would seriously harass Ministers in 
the discharge of their official work, and (what is even 
worse) it would in time lead to a deterioration in the 
composition of the House itself. It has always been 

12 Mr. G. M. Trevelyan, in his admirable " British History in the 
Nineteenth Century " (c. 12), remarks: " It is significant of much that in 
the 1 7th century members of Parliament quoted from the Bible; in the 
1 8th and igth centuries from the Classics; in the 2Oth century from 
nothing at all." 



THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 203 

enriched as a representative body by the infusion of 
men engaged in other callings than politics, which 
they cannot afford to abandon or neglect. 

NOTE 

An instructive chapter in history might be written 
on the falsified predictions of the opponents of politi- 
cal and social reform. Two notable illustrations are 
to be found in Mr, and Mrs. Hammond's recently 
published book, " The Rise of Modern Industry " 
(Methuen, 1925): the abolition of the Slave Trade, 
and the restriction of Child Labour. 

In the eleven years from 1783 to 1793, Liverpool 
slaving ships carried over 300,000 slaves from Africa 
to the West Indies, and sold them for over 15,000,- 
ooo. In 1793 this single port had secured three- 
sevenths of the slave trade of Europe. It was con- 
fidently predicted, when, thanks to the efforts of the 
dying Charles Fox in the Ministry of " All the 
Talents " in 1806, the trade was abolished, that its 
destruction would leave her with " idle ships and 
deserted docks." But in 1810 the ships were busier 
than ever they had been in the most prosperous year 
of the slave trade. 

It was the same with the restriction and protection 
of Child Labour in the factories. After years of agi- 
tation and more or less abortive experiments, the Ten 
Hours Act was at last passed in 1847. Sir James 
Graham prophesied that it would ruin the cotton in- 
dustry, and with it the trade of the country. After 



204 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the passing of the Act " all the sombre predictions by 
which it had been resisted for twenty years, proved 
as false as the predictions of the fate of Liverpool." 18 

In both cases one of the stock arguments for the 
maintenance of a system of inhuman and indefensible 
cruelty was that, if England set the example of giving 
it up, her trade rivals would seize the opportunity, 
and put her at a disadvantage. 14 

The argument has even in these days a familiar 
ring. 

13 " The Rise of Modern Industry ", pp 203-204 
" Ibid., p. 208 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE CABINET (l) 



HE relations under modern conditions of the 
Prime Minister and the Cabinet have been described 
and discussed by statesmen of large experience and 
high authority; amongst others by Lord Morley in his 
monograph on Walpole (1889)*; by Sir William Har- 
court in a Memorandum written by way of criticism 
on Morley 's book (i88g) 2 ; and by Lord Rosebery, 
in a notice in the Anglo-Saxon Review of Parker's 
"Peel" (1899). 

In the matter of nomenclature, the word " Cabi- 
net " is not a term of art; it is indeed unknown in 
constitutional law. The same might be said until 
quite recent times of the phrases " Prime Minister " 
and " Premier." Of the latter (" Premier "), Sir W. 
Harcourt writes: " The word as a Parliamentary 
word is very modern. I dislike it very much and 
would never use it. The old word in the time of 
North, and I think of Pitt, was ' the Minister/ I used 
to affect this phrase as applied to Disraeli, which 
pleased him. I would never say willingly even Prime 
Minister in the House of Commons." 

1 Lord Morley says in a letter to me (March 3, 1919) : " By the way, 
the chapter in my book upon the Cabinet was in truth the work of 
W. E. G." 

2 Printed in full as Appendix II in Gardiner's " Harcourt ", II, 609. 



206 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

There can be little doubt that the phrase " Prime 
Minister " came into vogue during Sir Robert Wai- 
pole's long tenure of power, as a term of political 
vituperation. Lord Melbourne, after his own resigna- 
tion of the office, writes to Queen Victoria (November 
4, 1841): 

Sir Robert Walpole was always accused of having 
introduced and arrogated to himself an office pre- 
viously unknown to the Law and Constitution, that 
of Prime or Sole Minister, and we learn from Lady 
Charlotte Lindsay's accounts of her father 8 that in 
his own family Lord North would never suffer him- 
self to be called Prime Minister, because it was an 
office unknown to the Constitution. This was a 
notion derived from the combined Whig and Tory 
Opposition to Sir Robert Walpole, to which Lord 
North and his family had belonged. 4 

In the nineteenth century the first instance which 
I have come across of the use of the phrase in an 
official document is the description of Lord Beacons- 
field in the preamble to the Treaty of Berlin (1878) 
as " First Lord of Her Majesty's Treasury, and 
Prime Minister of England." [sic.] 

The status of the office received Royal recognition 
in the Warrant of King Edward VII addressed to 
the Earl Marshal on December 2, 1905, of which the 
operative words are as follows: 

" Know ye that in the exercise of our Royal Pre- 
rogative We do hereby declare our Royal Will and 

8 She was a daughter of Lord North. 

4 "Queen Victoria's Letters" (1907), I, 449-450. 



PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET 207 

Pleasure that at all times hereafter the Prime Minis- 
ter of Us our Heirs and Successors shall have place 
and precedence next after the Archbishop of York." 

I am not aware of the circumstances which led to 
the issue of this Warrant. The first Prime Minister 
to hold the new status was Sir Henry Campbell-Ban- 
nerman. So far as I know, the office is still without 
statutory recognition. 

There is not, and cannot be, from the nature of 
the case, any authoritative definition of the precise 
relation of the Prime Minister to his colleagues. " In 
practice," as Sir W. Harcourt says, " the thing de- 
pends very much upon the character of the man. 
What was true of the Cabinet of Peel and Palmers- 
ton would not be true of other Ministers "; it was not 
true, one may add, of Lord Melbourne, of whom 
Greville writes in 1840, " He is Prime Minister only 
in name and has no authority; " nor of Lord Aber- 
deen, in the Coalition of 1853-1855, where almost 
every leading man was a law to himself, and which 
Lord John Russell, perhaps the chief offender, de- 
scribed as the " worst Government I ever belonged 
to." 5 The Latin phrases which have been resorted 
to " primus inter pares ", " velut inter ignes Luna 
minores " 6 do not carry the matter any further. The 
office of Prime Minister is what its holder chooses and 
is able to make of it. 

There are limiting conditions to which the most 

5 Letter to Lord Clarendon, September 23, 1854, in Gooch's " Later 
Correspondence", II, 171. 

6 " Harcourt ", H, 612. 



208 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

masterful and assiduous of Prime Ministers has to 
conform. " Peel," says Lord Rosebery, " was in name 
and deed that functionary, so abhorred and repudi- 
ated by the statesmen of the eighteenth century 
a Prime Minister. 

" In these days we have returned, perhaps neces- 
sarily, to the views of the last century (the eight- 
eenth). A Prime Minister who is the senior partner 
in every department as well as president of the whole, 
who deals with all the business of government, who 
inspires and vibrates through every part, is almost, 
if not quite, an impossibility. 7 A First Minister is 
the most that can be hoped for, the chairman and, on 
most occasions, the spokesman of that Board of Di- 
rectors which is called the Cabinet; who has the 
initiation and guidance of large courses of public 
policy; but who does not, unless specially invoked, 
interfere departmentally." Later on, he adds: " A 
First Minister has only the influence with the Cabi- 
net which is given him by his personal arguments, 
his personal qualities, and his personal weight. But 
this is not all. All his colleagues he must convince, 
some he may have to humour, some even to cajole: 
a harassing, laborious and ungracious task." 

That is, in its concluding passage, a personal im- 
pression; but it is unquestionable that no Prime Min- 
ister now could find time or energy for such a depart- 
mental autocracy as Peel appears to have exercised. 

7 An exception should be made of the case of Mr Gladstone, who, 
in his first Government, 1868-1874, almost answered to this description. 
It was not so in his later Cabinets. 



PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET 209 

Lord Palmers ton's authority in his Cabinet (though 
he was to the last one of the most industrious of 
men) was maintained by widely different faculties 
and methods. 

It is relevant at this point to recall the views of 
Peel himself, which are to be found in a most inter- 
esting conversation, after his resignation in 1846, 
between Mr. Gladstone and himself. 8 

He said [reports Mr. Gladstone] he had been 
twice Prime Minister, and nothing would induce him 
again to take part in the formation of a Govern- 
ment; 9 the labour and anxiety were too great; and he 
repeated more than once emphatically, with regard 
to the work of his post " no one in the least degree 
knows what it is. ... The whole correspondence 
with the Queen . . . and with Peers and Members 
of Parliament in my own hand, as well as other per- 
sons of consequence; the sitting seven or eight hours 
a day to listen in the House of Commons; then I 
must of course have my mind on the principal sub- 
jects connected with the various departments . . . 
and all the reading connected with them." 

MR. G.: "I can quite assent to the proposition 
that no one understands the labour of your post. But 
then you have been Prime Minister in a sense in 
which no other man has been it since Mr. Pitt's 
time." 

SIR R.P.: " But Mr. Pitt got up every day at 
eleven o'clock, and drank two bottles of port wine 
every night." 

MR. G.: " And died of old age at forty-six. . . . 
You have had extraordinary physical strength to sus- 

8 Morley, " Gladstone ", I, 297-300. 

9 He was not yet sixty. 



210 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

tain you, and you have performed an extraordinary 
task. Your Government has not been carried on by 
a Cabinet, but by the heads of departments each in 
communication with you." 

Peel assented . . . and he spoke of the defects 
of the Melbourne Government as a mere Government 
of departments, without a centre of unity. 

Gladstone then went on to say: " Mr. Perceval, 
Lord Liverpool, Lord Melbourne, were not Prime 
Ministers in this sense; what Mr. Canning might 
have been, the time was too short to show." 

Sir R. Peel concluded the interview by saying that 
it sometimes occurred to him, whether it would after 
all be a good arrangement to have the Prime Minister 
in the House of Lords. Whereupon Mr. Gladstone 
asked if, in that case, it would not be quite necessary 
that the leader in the Commons should frequently 
take upon himself to make decisions which ought 
properly to be made by the Head of the Govern- 
ment? Sir R. Peel replied that that would constitute 
a great difficulty; that although Lord Melbourne 
might be very well adapted to take his part in such 
a plan, there were, he believed, difficulties in it under 
him when Lord J. Russell led the House of Commons; 
and that when he (Peel) led the House, in 1828, 
under the Duke of Wellington as Premier [sic], he 
had a very great advantage in the disposition of the 
Duke " to follow the judgment of others in whom he 
had confidence with respect to all civil matters." 

It is nearly eighty years since this conversation 



PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET 211 

took place between two remarkable men, one of 
whom had been twice, and the other was to be four 
times, Prime Minister. The prescience of both is, in 
the light of our intervening experience, a signal in- 
stance of political sagacity. 

Another locus classicus on the subject is the re- 
corded opinion of Lord Salisbury, who was three 
times Prime Minister in the last years of the Vic- 
torian Era. It is to be found in Lady Gwendolen 
Cecil's account of what her distinguished father 
thought as to the fundamental requirements of the 
Cabinet system: 

Originating in a spontaneous gathering of friends, 
legally unrecognized, it had inherited a tradition of 
freedom and informality which was in his eyes indis- 
pensable to its efficiency. A Cabinet discussion was 
not the occasion for the deliverance of considered 
judgments, but an opportunity for the pursuit of 
practical conclusions. It could only be made com- 
pletely effective for this purpose if the flow of sug- 
gestions which accompanied it attained the freedom 
and fullness which belonged to private conversations 
members must feel themselves untrammelled by 
any consideration of consistency with the past, or 
self-justification in the future. The convention which 
forbade any note being taken of what was said 
futile as a safeguard for secrecy was invaluable 
as a guarantee for this irresponsible licence in dis- 
cussion. Lord Salisbury would have extended it in 
principle to the record preserved in each man's mem- 
ory. The first rule of Cabinet conduct, he used to 
declare, was that no member should ever " Hansard- 
ize " another even compare his present contribu- 



212 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

tion to the common fund of counsel with a previously 
expressed opinion. Any record kept of the discus- 
sions must greatly restrict this invaluable liberty; 
if public reference to them were ever to be tolerated, 
it must disappear. 10 

10 "Life of Salisbury", II, 223-224. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET (ll) 



1 HE 



relations of the members of the Cabinet to 
their Chief and to one another present little resem- 
blance to the practice of the eighteenth century. As 
Lord Morley says (writing in 1913, the year before 
the War): 1 "The growth of special interests, each 
claiming for itself a representative Minister in the 
Cabinet, has turned it into a noun of multitude in- 
deed, and a noun not wholly favourable to that con- 
centrated deliberation which was possible when Pitt 
had first six, then seven colleagues, Peel twelve, and 
Gladstone fourteen. To-day we are a score." There 
is no rule or convention which apportions the mem- 
bership of the Cabinet between the two Houses, 
though here again the contrast between modern prac- 
tice and that of the eighteenth century is noteworthy. 
At the close of Walpole's Government the only Com- 
moner in the Cabinet besides the Prime Minister was 
the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Charles Wager. 2 
In the Pelham Government, and again in the early 
days of the younger Pitt, all the members of the 
Cabinet, except its head, were peers. Dundas, Pitt's 
favourite counsellor and right-hand man, was not ad- 

1 " Politics and History ", p. 3. 

2 Morley, " Walpole ", p. 149- 



214 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

mitted till he became Home Secretary in i7Qi. 8 In 
these days, whatever party is in power, a majority 
of the Cabinet is drawn from the House of Commons. 

Apart from the increase in number, perhaps the 
most significant feature, in the development of the 
Cabinet, has been its growth in corporate unity and 
responsibility. Sir W. Harcourt says: * 

" The solidarity of the Cabinet and the accepted 
principle that they were bound to vote together and 
support the measures of the Government, was cer- 
tainly not established till long after the time of Wai- 
pole. During the frequent Administrations in the 
first ten years of George Ill's reign, there were re- 
peated examples of Members of the Government, and 
even the Lord Chancellor, opposing the measures of 
the Administration both by speech and vote. Notably 
Camden and Thurlow 5 . . . I doubt if the principle 
can be said to have been established till the suprem- 
acy of Pitt." 

In the Cabinets of the first thirty years of the 
nineteenth century, though, with the exception of 
that of " All the Talents " in 1806, and possibly that 
of Canning in 1827, they should all be called Tory 
Governments, there were questions of what would ap- 
pear to us to be of vital importance, such, for in- 
stance, as Catholic Emancipation (where Canning 

8 At least equally noteworthy is the exclusion of novi homines 
Neither Burke nor Sheridan was ever admitted to the Cabinet. 

* Gardiner, " Harcourt ", II, 610. 

fi Loughborough, Thurlow's successor, was an even greater master 
than Thurlow in the art of treachery. He compassed the downfall of 
his Chief in 1801, but his malignant activities were carried on under- 
ground. 



PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET 215 

and Castlereagh were in opposition to the majority 
of their colleagues) and (within limits) Parliamen- 
tary Reform, in regard to which there were openly 
avowed and tolerated differences of opinion. 

The convention of what Harcourt calls Cabinet 
" solidarity " that is, of such an appearance of 
unity as compels a dissentient to resign his office 
before he openly speaks and votes against the policy 
of the Administration, may be said to date from the 
Duke of Wellington's Government in 1828. In its 
most extreme form it found expression in Mel- 
bourne's cynical dictum, some years later, that " it 
doesn't much matter what we say, but we must all 
say the same thing." 

In 1800 Dundas " traces no less than four factions 
in a Cabinet of a dozen persons." 6 And as we have 
seen 7 Lord Beaconsfield writes, in 1877, to the Queen 
that " in a Cabinet of twelve there are seven parties 
or policies." 

In the Balfour Cabinet (1902-1905) it is hard to 
say how many separate attitudes found favour from 
time to time, before the avalanche of resignations in 
the autumn of 1903. In my own Cabinet, there was 
more than one subject of animated controversy, but 
until the outbreak of War there was no resignation 
on any ground of policy. 

Mr. Gladstone lays down the modern rule in his 
characteristic phraseology in a letter to Lord Gran- 
ville, written in March, 1884, when his own Cabinet 
was a scene of almost constant discord: 

Rosebery, " Pitt ", p. 146. 7 See ante, Vol. I, p 54. 



216 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

" What are ' divisions in a Cabinet? ' In my opin- 
ion, differences of view stated, and if need be argued, 
and then advisedly surrendered with a view to a 
common conclusion are not ' divisions in a Cabinet.' 
By that phrase I understand unaccommodated dif- 
ferences on matters standing for immediate action. 9 ' 8 

It is a mistake to suppose that even the strongest 
Prime Minister is always the supreme or ultimate 
arbiter of decisions in his own Cabinet. Harcourt, 
in the Memorandum already quoted, declares and 
I believe with accuracy that " the recognition of 
the South in the American Civil War was prevented 
by the majority of the Cabinet against the opinion 
of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer " (Palmerston, Russell 
and Gladstone a formidable trio). So, again, a few 
years later, " when the Bund invaded Schleswig and 
Jutland in 1864, Russell and Palmerston favoured 
armed, even if single-handed, support of Denmark. 
The rest of the Cabinet, strongly reinforced by the 
Queen, saved the country from an unsupported ad- 
venture to which the public opinion was opposed, to 
which its resources were inadequate, and which 
would almost certainly have given the signal for 
Louis Napoleon to march to the Rhine." 9 

Morley, " Gladstone ", III, 175. 

9 See Gooch: " Later Correspondence of Lord J. Russell ", I, Ixii. 
It may be interesting to recall that of the two " Adventurers " one 
(Lord Palmerston) was eighty, and the other (Lord Russell) was 
seventy-two. 

Queen Victoria writes, February 25, 1864 (during the Schleswig- 
Holstein crisis) to King Leopold: " I am wellnigh worn to nothing with 
vexation, distress and worry, and I have asked General Grey to tell 



PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET 217 

Mr. Stansfeld, who became a member of the first 
Gladstone Cabinet in 1871, has left on record his 
impressions of the demeanour and conduct of the 
Prime Minister, who in those days wielded an author- 
ity comparable to that of Pitt, Peel or Palmerston. 
" Mr. Gladstone's conduct " (he says) " in the Cabi- 
net was very curious. When I first joined I naturally 
thought that his position was so commanding that he 
would be able to say: ' This is my policy; accept it 
or not as you like. 7 But he did not. He was always 
profuse in his expressions of respect for the Cabinet. 
There was a wonderful combination in Mr. Glad- 
stone of imperiousness and of deference. In the Cab- 
inet he would assume that he was nothing. He always 
tried to lead them on by unconscious steps to his own 
conclusions." 10 

There are some subjects which, though of impor- 
tance in themselves, are in practice never (or hardly 
ever) brought before the Cabinet. One is the exer- 
cise by the Home Secretary of the prerogative of 
mercy. Another is a change of personnel in the Cab- 
inet itself. " The notion," said Mr. Gladstone in 
1882, " of a title in the Cabinet to be consulted on 
succession to Cabinet office is absurd. During thirty- 



you all about the conduct of those two dreadful old men." "Letters 
of Queen Victoria, 1862-1878 ", I, 168. 

The nature of the gamble to which the intrepid pair of veterans were 
prepared to commit the country may be realized when it is remembered 
that (as Palmerston admitted to Russell) the total force we could put 
in the field would be 20,000 men, armed with muzzle-loading rifles, 
against 200,000 or 300,000 Prussians, armed with the new breech- 
loading rifle. (See Spender- " The Public Life ", II, 45.) 

10 Morley, Gladstone ", II, 415. 



2i8 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

eight years since I first entered the Cabinet, I have 
never known more than a friendly announcement 
before publicity, and very partial consultation with 
one or two, especially the Leaders in the Second 
House." u 

A fortiori, the same rule applies to appointments 
outside the Cabinet, though I have once known (be- 
fore I was Prime Minister) a discussion in the Cabi- 
net, in very exceptional circumstances, of the succes- 
sion to the Viceroyalty of India. 

On the other hand, such a question as the Dis- 
solution of Parliament is always submitted to the 
Cabinet for ultimate decision. 12 In the period sur- 
veyed in this book there have been eleven such Dis- 
solutions: 1868, 1874, 1880, 1885, 1895, 1892, 1886, 
1900, 1906, 1910 (January) and 1910 (December). 

Those in 1868, and in 1885, were the automatic 
consequences of extensions of the franchise. In 1874, 
Mr. Gladstone communicated his intention in the 
first instance to Lord Granville and Mr. Cardwell, 
and perhaps Mr. Goschen (the two latter being heads 
of the Spending Departments). In his own words 
(written in the last year of his life): " When I pro- 
posed the Dissolution to the Cabinet, they acceded 
to it without opposition or even, I think, discus- 
sion." 1S Before submitting the matter to the Cabinet 
he obtained the Queen's assent. 

In 1880 the question of Dissolution was fully de- 

" Morley, "Gladstone", III, 101. 

12 Disraeli's action in May, 1868, is only an apparent exception. 
Buckle, " Disraeli ", V, 33. 

Morley, " Gladstone ", II, 483. 



PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET 219 

bated in the Cabinet, as appears from Lord Beacons- 
field's letter to the Queen (March 6). 14 " The Cabi- 
net just concluded sat two hours and a half, and 
every member of it was requested to give his opinion, 
the members of the House of Commons having the 
priority. There were various views, and some differ- 
ences of opinion " (as to whether the Dissolution 
should be immediate or postponed to the autumn) 
" but the ultimate result was unanimity." 

The circumstances of Mr. Gladstone's Dissolution 
in 1886 have been already described. According to 
Lord Morley's account: " When Ministers went into 
the Cabinet, three of them inclined pretty strongly 
towards Resignation. . . . Mr. Gladstone, however, 
... at once opened the case with a list of twelve 
reasons for recommending Dissolution. . . . His con- 
clusion was accepted without comment." Mr. Glad- 
stone then proceeded to communicate the decision of 
the Cabinet to the Queen. 

In 1895, after the defeat of Lord Rosebery's 
Government on the Cordite Vote, the Prime Minister 
at once submitted to the Cabinet the alternatives of 
Resignation and Dissolution. There was much differ- 
ence of opinion and prolonged debate, but the joint 
opinion of Lord Rosebery and Sir W. Harcourt in 
favour of Resignation prevailed. 16 

I have no personal knowledge of the procedure 
which was followed by the Unionist Government, 
which advised the Dissolution of 1900, but I have 
little doubt that the Cabinet was consulted. In 1906 

14 Buckle, " Disraeli ", VI, 514. 1C See ante, Vol. I, p. 262. 



220 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Dissolution was the obvious and necessary conse- 
quence of the Liberal Government assuming office. 
In both the elections of 1910 the Dissolution had 
been approved by the Cabinet. 

It is not, or was not in any of the Cabinets in 
which I have sat, the custom (unless in exceptional 
cases not always of the first importance) to take a 
Division. Lord Morley says that in his second Cabi- 
net (1880-1885) Mr. Gladstone "adopted a prac- 
tice of taking votes and counting numbers, of which 
more than one old hand complained as an innova- 
tion." 16 Lord Granville said to him in 1886: " I think 
you too often counted noses in your last Cabinet." It 
was left to the Prime Minister to collect and interpret 
the general sense of his colleagues. No stranger (un- 
less specially summoned to give information on a par- 
ticular matter) was ever admitted; and when a mes- 
sage came from outside, the door was always opened 
and shut by a Minister. No food or drink was allowed, 
except some hard biscuits, which were believed to 
date from the time of Pitt, and some plain water. 
Smoking was strictly tabooed. In the matter of seat- 
ing there was no order of precedence, but each Min- 
ister always occupied the same place. In my Cabinet 
Morley sat on one side of me, and after the outbreak 
of the War, Kitchener. It was contrary to etiquette 
for any member of the Cabinet except the Prime 
Minister to take notes, and the only record of the 
proceedings was in the letter which he wrote to the 
King, and of which a copy was preserved by his pri- 

i Morley, " Gladstone ", III, 5. 




SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT 



PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET 221 

vate secretary. Mr. Gladstone (writing in 1883) de- 
clares that no one is entitled to make a note of pro- 
ceedings except the Prime Minister 17 and Lord Salis- 
bury, as appears from his opinion already quoted, 
reasserted and justified the practice. It continued to 
my time, and I remember that when my attention 
was called to the fact that a Minister was appar- 
ently taking notes on his own account, I felt bound, 
with the assent of all my colleagues, to make a some- 
what sharp remonstrance. 

There is now a Cabinet Secretariat framed (I be- 
lieve) on the model of that which has always been 
part of the machinery of the Committee of Imperial 
Defence. I have no experience of its working. 

" Morley, " Gladstone ", III, 114. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

OFFICES AND PENSIONS 

'F the offices which used to be regarded as en- 
titling their holders to Cabinet rank, one that of 
Chief Secretary for Ireland, who of late years gener- 
ally sat in the Cabinet unless the Viceroy was there 
has disappeared. On the other hand, during and 
since the War a number of new Ministries have been 
created Air, Pensions, Labour, Mines, Transport, 
Overseas Trade, etc. some of which are apparently 
looked upon as qualifying their incumbents for the 
Inner Council. I am sceptical as to the permanent 
utility of many of these new offices, with their retinue 
of large and costly staffs; most of them ought to be 
absorbed in the Board of Trade, or others of the old 
departments. In any case the size of the Cabinet 
might well be reduced. 

This naturally leads to the question of the remu- 
neration of Ministers. 

The First Lord of the Treasury appears to have 
received a salary of 5,000 ever since 1660. 

The nominal remuneration of the Lord Chancellor 
in the eighteenth century was much less than it is 
to-day, but it was enormously augmented by fees, 
and Lord Hardwicke, who held the office for nearly 



OFFICES AND PENSIONS 223 

twenty years, was able, without resorting to the ques- 
tionable methods of Lord Macclesfield, to amass a 
huge fortune. The office of Paymaster-General of the 
Army was (especially in time of war) the most lucra- 
tive in the Government. Henry Fox, who clung to it 
for many years, was referred to in a famous petition 
from the Livery of the City of London as " the pub- 
lic defaulter of unaccounted millions ",* and it is said 
that the interest on the outstanding balances, when 
he left office, brought him in a quarter of a million. 
Walpole was both First Lord of the Treasury and 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, and his total official 
income is estimated to have been about 7,400 a 
year. 2 But the fat sinecures which were at the dis- 
posal of the Chief Minister enabled him to make 
ample provision for his family at the public expense. 
Walpole 's three sons held the pick of these posts, 
bringing them in a total income of about 14,000, 
for which none of them did a week's work in the 
year. 8 , 

Some of Walpole 's successors drew as large a sum, 
if not a larger, in the way of direct personal payment. 
This arose from the practice of Prime Ministers pre- 
senting themselves to the office of Lord Warden of 
the Cinque Ports, which was worth in those days 
about 3,000 a year. It was so held by Lord North, 
Mr. Pitt, and Lord Liverpool. Since 1827, when the 

1 "Annual Register", 1769, p 202. 

2 Morley, " Walpole ", p. 137. 

8 Ibid., p 130. As Lord Morley points out, " these indirect provisions 
for the families of great public servants " had the approval of the great 
economist, Burke. 



224 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

salary was abolished, it has been regarded as a lia- 
bility rather than an asset, and few Prime Ministers 
in more recent times have been able or willing to 
take it. 4 

In an Appendix to Lord Rosebery's " Pitt ", con- 
tributed by Sir E. W. Hamilton, afterwards Perma- 
nent Secretary to the Treasury, there is an interest- 
ing analysis of the Prime Minister's official income 
in the closing years of the eighteenth and the begin- 
ning of the nineteenth century. 

The " Summary of Mr. Pitt's emoluments " is as 
follows: 

1. First Lord of the Treasury 5,000 

2. Chancellor of the Exchequer 2,452 

3. Warden of the Cinque Ports 3, 080 

Total emoluments 10,532 

In other words, at that date the Prime Minister re- 
ceived more than twice as much as he does to-day, 
and even if the salary which fell to him as Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer is deducted, his emoluments 
amounted to 8,000, as compared with the 5,000 
which is paid to the present holder of the office. 

The two offices of First Lord and Chancellor of the 
Exchequer were more than once combined after the 
death of Mr. Pitt: in 1810 by Mr. Perceval, who is 
stated not to have drawn the salary of Chancellor 
of the Exchequer; 5 in 1827, for only a few months, 
by Mr. Canning; in 1834-1835, also only for a few 

4 Exceptions were Lord Palmerston and, for a short time, Lord 
Salisbury, who 'soon got rid of it. B Morley, " Walpole ", p. 137. 



OFFICES AND PENSIONS 225 

months, by Sir Robert Peel; in 1873-1874 and again 
in 1880-1882, by Mr. Gladstone. He received a sal- 
ary of 7,500, which was fixed in 1873 as the maxi- 
mum remuneration of the First Lord of the Treasury, 
however many offices he might hold. 

The accession of Lord Grey's Government at the 
beginning of the reign of William IV, in an atmos- 
phere hostile to sinecures and for the moment fa- 
vourable to public economy, appears to have been 
the occasion for a complete overhauling of the 
charges hitherto borne on the Civil List, out of which 
there used to be paid the salaries of Ambassadors, 
Judges, and some Ministers. Select Committees of 
the House of Commons sat to consider and report on 
the reduction of salaries and on Civil Government 
charges. Two reports were presented one in March 
and the other in October, 1831. 

The salary of the First Lord of the Treasury was 
left at 5,000 a year. The Committee recommended 
that the same figure should be fixed for the secre- 
taries of State and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
The recommendation was given effect to by Treasury 
Minute and an Order in Council. In the new offices 
which have since been created, the salary has, as a 
rule, been fixed by statute. The result is that a num- 
ber of Ministers, who are of Cabinet rank, are paid 
at the rate of 5,000 a year, while others of the same 
status do not receive more than 2,000. 

The whole subject of ministerial remuneration has 
been, since the War, the subject of inquiry by a select 
Committee of the House of Commons, who presented 



226 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

their report on December 15, 1920. The report, which 
contains some interesting and valuable appendices, 
made a number of recommendations which (so far as 
I know) have not been carried into effect. Its prin- 
cipal suggestion was that the salary of the Prime 
Minister should be raised from 5,000 to 8,000 a 
year, that all members of the Cabinet should be paid 
5,000 a year, and that the various offices should be 
graded into four classes, with salaries ranging from 
5,000 to 1,500. 

I was called as a witness before the Committee, 
and I may cite some passages from my evidence. 

The Lord Chancellor is the only Minister and 
people do not realize this who gets a pension. 

Q. " Except those who claim? " 

A. " Unless the Minister makes a special claim, 
and even then, I think there are only four first-class 
pensions. As a matter of fact, no Minister has any 
title to a pension except the Lord Chancellor, who 
gets a pension of 5,000 a year automatically; he has 
to sign a document, but it has nothing to do with his 
means or anything of that kind. I have never known 
an exception 6 and, in fact, it may be taken that he 
always has a pension of 5,000 a year, which makes 
it even less easy to justify his having a salary of 
twice as much as any of his colleagues. 

" I confess I think the Prime Minister is under- 
paid. I was in office myself continuously for eleven 
years two years as Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
and for the best part of nine years as Prime Minister. 
I do not suppose my experience is in the least unique, 

6 I believe that Viscount Finlay is one. 



OFFICES AND PENSIONS 227 

but I was a much poorer man when I left office than 
when I entered. 7 The office of Prime Minister, if it 
is to be properly discharged, cannot, I think, be dis- 
charged, unless a man has private means of his own, 
on a salary of 5,000 a year. He has a number of 
duties, if he is to perform his office properly, of 
entertaining and affording hospitality to all sorts and 
conditions of people both at home and abroad which, 
under the existing arrangement, he has to defray en- 
tirely at his own cost. We established, when I was 
Prime Minister, a useful institution at least, I 
think it has turned out to be useful called the 
Government Hospitality Fund. It is generally in 
charge of the First Commissioner of Works, and it 
is very properly resorted to for the entertaining on a 
large scale of distinguished foreigners, and other 
people whom the State ought for the time being to 
look after during their temporary sojourn in this 
country. But even with that, which was a relief to 
the Prime Minister, because he had to do a lot of 
that entertaining himself in the old days or else no- 
body did it, and quite apart from the special respon- 
sibilities which fall upon him as distinguished from 
his colleagues, I think his salary ought to be raised 
I do not say by how much, because that is a mat- 
ter of detail, but I think it ought to be raised; I think 
he is underpaid. As to the rest, I see no reason why, 
in regard to those who are considered to be entitled 
by public services or on whatever other ground, to sit 
in the inner circle of the Cabinet, there should be any 
discrimination whatsoever in point of salary. It would 
make the task of the Prime Minister in forming a 

7 Lord John Russell (also giving evidence to a Committee of the 
House of Commons) : " I know that for my own part I never had a debt 
in my life till I was First Lord of the Treasury " (1846-1852). (Walpole, 
" Life of Lord Russell ", II, 145.) 



228 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Government easier, and it would prevent invidious 
and, for the most part, artificial distinctions being 
drawn as between the relative status and authority 
of particular offices. 

" I should make the Cabinet smaller. There are 
one or two offices, even among the old offices and 
I am not speaking of any of these new creations 
which I think might very easily be omitted normally 
from what is called Cabinet status. In order to make 
my meaning clear, I ought to say that certain offices 
have always had the status of Cabinet offices which 
are really sinecures. The office of Lord President of 
the Council is very nearly, though not quite, a sine- 
cure. The Lord Privy Seal is an absolute sinecure. 
The Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster is to 
all intents and purposes a sinecure; you could per- 
form all the duties attaching to the chancellorship 
of the Duchy of Lancaster in three hours a week 
he used to be called the maid-of-all-work in the Cab- 
inet; he has no departmental or administrative duties 
of his own which take up any time. In my time 
and it was a growing practice the offices both of 
the Lord President of the Council and Lord Privy 
Seal were commonly held with another Cabinet office, 
with the result that their salaries were saved. For in- 
stance, I remember quite well one of the secretaries of 
State being Lord President of the Council, whereby 
the country saved the 2,000 a year which would go 
to the office of Lord President. The Lord Privy Seal 
I do not think has been paid a salary within my recol- 
lection, but perhaps he has a salary now; it was an 
office always held with some other office, or held 
gratuitously. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lan- 
caster undoubtedly was paid a salary of 2,000 a 
year, but I see no reason why he should be a member 
of the Cabinet at all. 



OFFICES AND PENSIONS 229 

" I think anybody who is a member of the Cabinet 
ought to receive the same remuneration as any other 
member of the Cabinet so long as he is one of them; 
that is my view." 

Q. " As regards the office of Prime Minister, in- 
dependent of the Hospitality Fund, which is a recent 
creation, there must be an enormous lot of personal 
entertainment to visitors from abroad? " 

A. "Yes, it is enormous. Nobody who has not 
been Prime Minister knows really what a Prime 
Minister's day is. During the time I was Prime Min- 
ister, for a special reason I took on the office of Secre- 
tary of State for War, and held it with the Prime 
Ministership for, I think, four or five months before 
the outbreak of the War. I did not take any salary 
as Secretary of State for War, and to that extent 
during those few months there was a little economy; 
but taking the two offices together, I think the work 
was really heavier than probably any man ought to 
undertake." 

Q. " Independent altogether of the Hospitality 
Fund, I take it the entertaining would lose its value 
if carried out under the Hospitality Fund? " 

A. " Yes, you must have them at your own table, 
and you must talk to them in a more or less intimate 
and friendly way. An official banquet is not the same 
thing." 

, Q. u Would you cut out altogether the question 
of a pension to the Prime Minister? " 

A. "There are strong arguments one way and 
the other. Personally I would rather he had not a 
pension." 

Q. " You would rather do it on a salary? " 

A. " I am not in favour of pensions." 

Q. " I suppose all salaries pay income tax? " 

A. " Yes. When you are talking of any particular 



2 3 o FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

figure, like 5,000 a year, I ought really to have said 
x, because what I mean is equality of remuneration 
for Cabinet Ministers. I am not wedded in the least 
to the figure of 5,000. It may be, with all the various 
changes in the cost of living, and so forth, that the 
Committee would suggest another figure. I say x 
ought to be the sum." 

Q. " You said that you did not approve of a pen- 
sion for the Prime Minister. Can you give a reason 
why you do not approve of it? " 

A. "If you pension the Prime Minister, I do not 
see why you should not pension all the other Min- 
isters." 

Q. " Do you not think the Prime Minister carries 
such enormous responsibility compared with the 
others? " 

A. "It may be he would be entitled to a bigger 
pension than the others because he carried larger 
responsibility. I dare say the Committee know that 
in some of our Dominions, in Canada, for instance, 
the leader of the Opposition gets a salary. I remem- 
ber quite well that when Sir Wilfrid Laurier ceased to 
be Prime Minister (which he had been, I think, for 
the best part of twenty years) he became leader 
of the Opposition, and automatically received a 
salary as such. I do not know whether it is the 
same in Australia, but it is or was the case in Can- 
ada. Now that is a form of pension. On the whole, 
my disposition is against giving ex-Ministers pen- 
sions." 

Q. " Have not the bulk of British Prime Minis- 
ters been men who could occupy the post without 
working for their livelihood? " 

A. " Certainly the bulk undoubtedly have been 
such." 

Q. " But there have been within the last fifty or 



OFFICES AND PENSIONS 231 

sixty years three or four Prime Ministers who, one 
might say, were professional men? " 

A. " Yes. I was a professional man myself, and it 
meant a considerable sacrifice of income to me to 
take office." 

Q. " There is also the present Prime Minister; 
and was not Lord Beaconsfield a man who had to 
write largely for his livelihood? " 

A. " Yes, and, but for his wife, he would have 
been very badly off." 

Q. " I think you will agree that it is advisable 
that the nation should have the choice of a man of 
that kind, if it wants him? " 

A. "Certainly." 

Q. "If that man has held that kind of post, is it 
possible, in consonance with the dignity of a British 
Prime Minister, that that man should go back to 
his ordinary vocation? Is there any precedent for 
it?" 

A. " There is precedent for it in the President of 
the United States of America, who frequently goes 
back. President Taft went back first to the Bar, but 
he is now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Many 
Presidents of the United States have gone back to 
civil life." 

Q. " That is in America, but I think there is no 
precedent in British politics? " 

A. " I do not know that there is an actual prece- 
dent. Mr. Pitt, who was a penniless man, or prac- 
tically penniless, when he became Prime Minister at 
the age of twenty-four, took on a most precarious 
job, as history has recorded, and he contemplated 
going back to the Western Circuit as a barrister." 

Q. " With your large experience of being in 
Cabinets, and having formed Cabinets yourself and 
watched them, would you be prepared to say what 



232 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the maximum number of any really good working 
Cabinet ought to be? " 

A. "I think Cabinets are too big. I think the 
tendency of late years, quite apart from the War, has 
been to make the Cabinets too big. From my experi- 
ence, which is, of course, a very long one, as I have 
been continuously Prime Minister longer than any- 
body now living, or than anybody for the last hun- 
dred years, if I were to start afresh now I should 
cut down the numbers of the Cabinet substan- 
tially." 

Q. " You referred to the salaries as defining 
grades, and you said that offices carrying a higher 
salary than others really create a difference in grade 
between the two sets of offices? " 

A. "In the public estimation it does, and in the 
estimation of politicians." 

Q. " And also in the estimation of the men them- 
selves who are in them? " 

A. " I think undoubtedly it does." 

Q. " Is it not bad that there should be any in- 
ducement by way of promotion for a man, if he has 
the opportunity to leave a job that he has just got a 
full grip of, to get a job merely because it is promo- 
tion to another office in the Cabinet with which he 
is not familiar, and which he is not so capable of 
handling? " 

A. "Of course, a Prime Minister acts wrongly if 
he allows such a thing to take place. I have known 
cases in my own experience when I have offered a 
higher and better-paid office to a capable man, and 
he has refused it on the ground that he thought he 
was more fitted for the office he was at present dis- 
charging. There is a very much higher spirit of public 
duty among politicians than the world at large 
believes." 



OFFICES AND PENSIONS 233 

Q. " The difference between 2,000 and 5,000 a 
year is not the deciding factor? " 

A. " It is a very considerable one, I agree, but I 
put it much more upon the ground that people who 
are considered to be qualified to sit in what I call the 
Inner Council, and to take the real responsibility of 
government for it rests practically with them alone 
ought to be upon the same footing. 8 

" There is still, as I have often found at election 
times, a widespread belief that men who have held 
high office when they become ex-Ministers receive 
pensions from the State. This is not true. No ex- 
Minister is entitled to a pension, except past Lord 
Chancellors, who receive 5,000 a year and whose 
case, as I pointed out to the Committee, is excep- 
tional. The Lord Chancellor's pension is now re- 
garded, and I think, properly regarded, as imposing 
an honourable obligation on the pensioner to sit and 
continue to do judicial business. They do sit, as a 
matter of fact, and the country gets very great ad- 
vantage from it. I do not know how many there are 
now, but I have known three or four ex-Lord Chan- 
cellors sitting in the House of Lords and on the 
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and well 
earning the 5,000 a year they receive as pensions. I 
am sure that they think it an honourable obligation 
to do so." 9 

The only conditions upon which political pensions 
can lawfully be given are stated in a Memorandum 
by the Treasury, which is set out in Appendix VI to 

8 In the United States the salary of a Cabinet Minister is not more 
than $15,000. On the other hand, both in the United States and France 
members of the Legislature are paid on a higher scale than is the case 
here. The figures are. Great Britain, 400; United States, $10,000; 
France, 27,000 francs. 9 Report, p. 10. 



234 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

the Report of the Committee. Of the first-dass pen- 
sions of 2,000 a year there are only four, the quali- 
fication for which is a minimum service of four years 
in an office with a salary of not less than 5,000. The 
applicant must sign a statement that his total in- 
come is inadequate to maintain his station in life. 

The same declaration is required of applicants for 
the two lower classes of pensions (1,200 and 800 a 
year) which are also limited to four in each class. 

During the many years that I was First Lord of 
the Treasury I never gave away any of these pen- 
sions, nor (I believe) has any of my successors. 
There are now no political pensions being paid. 



ALL 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

PATRONAGE (l) 



Patronage of all descriptions," wrote Sir 
Robert Peel in 1843, " s f ar f rom being of the least 
advantage personally to a Minister, involves him in 
nothing but embarrassment." Of the many classes of 
Patronage which come within the province of the 
Prime Minister, the grant of honours for political 
and public services is the most irksome and the most 
thankless. I suspect that there are few holders of the 
office (since the days of the Duke of Newcastle and 
Lord North) who would not have been heartily glad 
to be relieved of it. 

The Prime Minister, however (as First Lord of the 
Treasury), has a more grateful task for which, as 
will be seen, he is inadequately and even miserably 
equipped in supplying the urgent necessities of 
literary and scientific men, and others who have 
rendered service to the State, and their dependents. 
This is a duty which was much neglected in the 
eighteenth century, though it is to be remembered to 
the credit of one of the worst Prime Ministers of that 
era Lord Bute that he granted Doctor Johnson 
a pension of 300 a year. When, in the last year of 
the Doctor's life, his friends solicited an addition to 



236 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

it, in order that he might be able to pass the winter 
in the milder climate of Italy, the request, although 
pressed by Lord Thurlow, was refused. Whether Pitt, 
who was then Prime Minister, was personally respon- 
sible for this ungracious act (as Macaulay assumes 
in one of his most biting asides) is not proved, 1 but it 
is certain that a Minister who could make Pye Poet 
Laureate was singularly callous to the claims of liter- 
ary distinction. 

Sir Robert Peel's practice was very different. In 
his short Administration, in the early months of 1835, 
he offered out of the scanty means at his disposal 
assistance to Wordsworth, Mrs. Hemans, Mrs. Somer- 
ville, James Hogg, and Southey. 2 

Before his second term of office (1841-1846) 
Parliament had provided, at the accession of Queen 
Victoria by the Civil List Act of 1837, that it should 
be lawful for the Treasury to charge upon the Con- 
solidated Fund " such sums as may be required to 
defray the charge of Civil List Pensions at the rate of 
1,200 a year for each year of the reign." That re- 
mains to this day the governing provision, and no 
wonder that Sir Robert Peel, when he came to the 
task of administering it, should have written: " It 
would have been better if Parliament had given 
nothing to the Crown than such a pittance for the 
recognition of such services." 8 Peel set a good ex- 
ample to his successors by granting pensions out of 
the fund to Wordsworth, Tennyson and Faraday. 

1 See G. B. Hill's edition of " Boswell ", IV, 350. 

2 Parker, " Peel ", 304-311- 3 /Ml, HI, 436. 



PATRONAGE 237 

When, sixty years later, I became First Lord of 
the Treasury, I felt, as I know my predecessors did, 
the meagreness, and often the futility, of the aid that 
could be given to any, and the harsh necessity of 
refusing anything to not a few of those who, pursu- 
ing, often with the most brilliant gifts, unremunera- 
tive callings of the highest value to the nation, were 
left in pecuniary straits. 

I had reason to suppose that some assistance of the 
kind might not be unwelcome to an eminent poet, 
Mr. Swinburne, and I wrote to him in that sense. I 
have preserved his reply, which was as follows: 

THE PINES, 
n, Putney Hill, S.W. 

July 1 6, 1908. 
MY DEAR MR. ASQUITH, 

I will not take up a minute more of your time than 
I can help by entering into explanations as to what 
unavoidable circumstances have delayed by too many 
days my reply to your letter of the ninth. I trust you 
will have already assumed them to be unavoidable, 
and will accept my very sincere apology and expres- 
sion of regret. 

You must not think me insensible to the cordial 
courtesy of your letter if I decline the offer of a pen- 
sion. But the remembrance of Jowett, a friend to 
whom I owe a debt of regard which, after his death, 
I did what I could to repay, gives me pleasure in 
offering to another old Balliol man my own equally 
cordial acknowledgment of his courtesy. 
Believe me to be, 

Very faithfully yours, 

(Sgd.) A. C. SWINBURNE. 



238 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Besides the Civil List Pensions, there is another 
sum charged on the Civil List (Class V) for " Royal 
Bounty, Alms, and Special Services ", which is fixed 
at 13,200 a year. Of this total, 1,200 is called the 
Royal Charity Fund, and is administered by the 
" Lady of the First Lord of the Treasury." It is a 
survival from the reign of George II, when its bene- 
ficiaries were described as " Female Objects in Dis- 
tress." It is given, as a rule, in small pensions, and 
not infrequently the amount supposed to be available 
in any particular year is absorbed by provision for 
pensions already awarded. Of the balance 3,000 
goes to the Lord High Almoner and the Privy Purse, 
and the First Lord is left with 9,000, with any 
addition there may be from invested savings, at his 
own disposal. It affords him the opportunity of grant- 
ing lump sums always of very moderate dimen- 
sions to help cases of immediate urgency. There 
are in the letters of Sir R. Peel two moving instances 
in which he showed his habitual delicacy and con- 
sideration. The one is his grant to the great humorist, 
Tom Hood, and his family, in his last illness; the 
second, to the artist, Haydon, which reached him 
within a few hours of his tragic end. 4 

The doling out of these meagre funds is a heart- 
rending task to the Minister, and, since there is no 
possible temptation to malversation or abuse, the 
rigid limitation of their amount is not creditable to 
Parliament or advantageous to the nation. 6 

* See the letters in Parker's " Peel ", III, 442-449- 

6 I have been much indebted in this chapter for information supplied 
to me by my friend and old Private Secretary, Mr. R. S. Meiklejohn, 
C.B., of the Treasury. 



T, 



CHAPTER XXXV 

PATRONAGE (ll) 

Ecclesiastical 



HE Ecclesiastical Patronage of the Prime Minis- 
ter falls to him either as such, or as First Lord of the 
Treasury. 

As I held two offices which are not always com- 
bined; for some years in our own time they were 
dissociated, when Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister, 
and Mr. Balfour First Lord of the Treasury 
during the best part of nine continuous years, I had 
an unusually varied experience. Apart from the ap- 
pointment to parochial cures, which is divided with 
the Lord Chancellor, the holder of the offices which 
I held has, with a few exceptions, at his disposal 
subject to the ultimate approval of the King all 
the most responsible positions in the Church. 

I have not the materials for an exact computation, 
but on the Episcopal Bench my recommendations 
must from first to last have covered something like 
thirteen or fourteen sees, including one of the arch- 
bishoprics. I had also to fill some of the most im- 
portant deaneries: St. Paul's, Westminster, Durham: 
and canonries in almost all the old chapters. 

This has always been an anxious and sometimes 
a troublesome function. George III, who took a 



240 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

strong personal interest in Episcopal appointments, 
succeeded twice in elevating his own nominee to the 
primacy. The first time was in 1 783 when, in the six 
weeks' ministerial interregnum before the Coalition 
Government, he appointed Archbishop Moore the 
last of the successors of Augustine to whom the 
epithets Toady and Jobber can be unequivocally 
applied. 

Mr. Pitt, who succeeded the Coalition, and was 
Prime Minister continuously for the best part of 
eighteen years, and afterwards for another two, had 
during his first term the complete confidence of the 
King, and claimed and exercised a free hand. On his 
return to office in 1804, he was resolved that, when 
the See of Canterbury next became vacant, it should 
be filled by Bishop Tomline, of Lincoln, his old tutor 
and lifelong confidant and friend. But, as events 
turned out, his design was baffled by the King, who, 
knowing Mr. Pitt's intentions, and getting early news 
of Archbishop Moore's death, went behind his back 
and gave the post on the spot to a Court favourite, 
Manners Sutton, much to the outwitted Minister's 
indignation. " Lord Sidmouth told Dean Milman 
that he believed such strong language had rarely, if 
ever, passed between a Sovereign and his Minister." * 

This is a situation which, so far as I know, has not 
recurred, but Queen Victoria could, and did on oc- 
casion, intervene when her Minister proposed an un- 
welcome nominee. In 1868 Mr. Disraeli, near the 
end of his first Administration, when he had not yet 

1 See Rowden, " The Primates of the Four Georges ", pp. 385-386. 



PATRONAGE 241 

secured the favour and personal confidence of the 
Queen, came into serious collision with her. In the 
autumn of that year the Primacy became vacant by 
the death of Archbishop Longley. There were two 
members of the Bench who were clearly marked out 
from their fellows as possible successors; the brilliant 
and gifted Wilberforce of Oxford, and the broad- 
minded and sagacious Tait of London. If the Arch- 
bishop had lived a few weeks longer, there can be 
little doubt that Mr. Gladstone, who by then had be- 
come Chief Minister, would have recommended 
Wilberforce. Mr. Disraeli proposed the name of 
Bishop Ellicott, of Gloucester, a learned Greek Testa- 
ment Scholar, and a distinguished Alpinist, but with 
no other claim to promotion except one, which he 
shared with the ruck of his colleagues " Moderate " 
views. The Queen interposed an absolute veto, and 
forced upon her Minister against his will the appoint- 
ment of Bishop Tait. The See of London, which was 
thereby vacated, ought without doubt to have fallen 
to Wilberforce; Tait seems to have gone so far as to 
say that he would not have accepted Canterbury 
unless he had thought that Wilberforce would succeed 
him in London. But a general election was in prog- 
ress, in which the main issue was Irish Disestablish- 
ment; Disraeli had hoisted, among other emblems, 
the flag of " No Popery "; the Bishop was the leading 
figure in the High Church party; some of his near 
relatives had joined the Church of Rome; and the 
Prime Minister, who this time succeeded in getting 
his way, brushed Wilberforce aside in favour of a 



242 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

worthy man of unblemished mediocrity and neutral 
opinions. 2 

The two Kings whom I had the honour to serve 
were uniformly gracious and considerate, and I can 
not recall any occasion on which my recommenda- 
tions in the ecclesiastical sphere were not readily ap- 
proved. On the whole, too, though I had my fair 
share of criticism from what is called the " Religious 
Press," I was fortunate enough to escape any such 
short-lived tornadoes as those which assailed Lord 
John Russell when he appointed Hampden to Here- 
ford, and Mr. Gladstone when he appointed Temple 
to Exeter. It is worth remembering that Temple suc- 
ceeded, amid general approval, to the two most diffi- 
cult places in the Church London and Canterbury. 

The constitutional usage which in effect places at 
the disposal of the Prime Minister of the day the 
highest offices in the Church, has become in these 
times not only anomalous but, on paper, almost in- 
defensible. The Prime Minister need not belong to 
the Established Church; during the last quarter of a 
century the post has been held more than once by a 
Presbyterian or a Baptist; and whatever may be his 
precise ecclesiastical colour, or want of colour, in the 
enormous and ever-increasing pressure of his secular 
duties he may find little time for, or interest in, the 
task of selecting bishops and deans. It is true that he 
can seek skilled assistance from outside; he could 

2 Bishop Jackson of Lincoln. He could, however, on occasion show 
decision and common sense. See his letter on Vestments in " Letters of 
Queen Victoria, 2d Series, II, 276. He was the author of Sermons on 
" The Sinfulness of Little Sins." 



PATRONAGE 243 

always in my time rely upon the wide knowledge and 
sagacious judgment of the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury; but the ultimate responsibility lies with him- 
self. 8 I was exceptionally lucky in those whom I chose 
to advise me, and I can honestly say that I took the 
utmost trouble to find the best man, and, so far as 
was compatible with the needs and traditions of par- 
ticular dioceses, to hold the balance even between 
the different parties in the Church. 

All things considered, it is surprising that the 
system works as well as it does. Solvitur ambulando. 
As I have said, it has no logical basis, and is only 
(like some others among our institutions) preserved 
from abuse and failure by the application of the 
cement of common sense and right feeling on the part 
of those who are called upon to work it. I have seen 
many suggestions for alternative methods of nomina- 
tions and election, but none which, so far as I can 
judge, and so long as the Church continues to be 
Established, would be acceptable to the bulk of the 
English laity. 

One of the most interesting pieces of patronage 
that can fall to the lot of a Prime Minister comes to 
him on the rare occurrence of a vacancy in the office 
of Poet Laureate, which happened during my term 
in 1913. The post, being regarded as part of the 
Royal Household, used to be in the gift of the Lord 
Chamberlain; but for more than a hundred years the 

8 There is an excellent and plain-spoken letter on this matter from 
Lord Palmerston to Queen Victoria, who had cavilled at one of his 
recommendations. " Letters of Queen Victoria ", 2nd series, I, pp. 
177-179- 



244 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

appointment has, in fact, been made by the Chief 
Minister of the Crown. 

I took a great deal of pains to investigate the 
antecedents and history of the laureateship, and it 
may be of interest to summarize the result of my 
inquiries. 4 The following is a list of the laureates, 
omitting Ben Jonson and Sir William Davenant, to 
whom the name was sometimes given in the reigns of 
Charles I and Charles II, but whose official status was 
not fully recognized: 



DATE NAME 

1669 John Dryden 

1689 T. Shadwell 



REMARKS 

Deprived at the Revolu- 
tion. 

Dryden, anticipating the 
" Dunciad ", places 
Shadwell on the throne 
of Dulness: 
" Shadwell alone my 

perfect image bears. 
Mature in dulness from 
his tender years." 
(MacFlecknoe.) 

A butt of Pope and Swift. 
Mainly remembered for 
his Christmas Carol 
"When Shepherds 
watched their flocks." 



4 Those who are curious as to the antiquities and development of the 
office should consult the learned and entertaining account of it by Pro- 
fessor Broadus, of the University of Alberta. (" The Laureateship ", 
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1921.) 



1692 Nahum Tate 



PATRONAGE 



245 



DATE NAME 

1715 Nicholas Rowe 



REMARKS 



1718 L. Eusden 
1730 Colley Gibber 



A fine scholar, and success- 
ful playwright. " Sel- 
dom pierces the breast; 
always delights the ear; 
and often improves the 
understanding. ' ' ( Dr. 
Johnson.) 

" A Parson much bemused 
in beer." (Pope.) 

Popular actor and play- 
wright. Installed by 
Pope on the throne of 
Dulness in place of 
Theobald. " I wrote 
more to be fed than to 
be famous," Gibber says 
of himself. His " Apol- 
ogy " is still excellent 
reading. 

1757 W. Whitehead "I would rather be ser- 
(Gray refused) geant- trumpeter or pin- 
maker to the palace." 
(Gray.) 
" Dulness and Method 

still are one; 
And Whitehead is their 
darling son." 

(Churchill.) 



1 785 Thomas Warton 



Professor of Poetry at Ox- 
ford, and author of the 
" History of English 
Poetry. 



246 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

DATE NAME REMARKS 

1 790 Henry James Pye Lost his seat in Parliament, 

and was consoled by Pitt 
with this office, and a 
police magistracy. 

1813 Robert Southey Macaulay (to Napier), 
(Sir W. Scott April 26, 1841 the 
refused) Whigs being still in of- 

fice. " It has occurred to 
me that if poor Southey 
dies . . . Leigh Hunt 
might very fitly have 
the laurel, if that ab- 
surd custom is to be 
kept up, or at all events 
the pension and the 
sack." (Trevelyan, p. 
398.) 

1843 William Wordsworth 

1850 Alfred Tennyson (Samuel Rogers refused) 

1892-1895 Vacant 

1896 Alfred Austin 

1913 Robert Bridges 

The official duty of the poet laureates from Rowe 
to Southey was to furnish two odes a year one on 
New Year's Day, and the other on the King's Birth- 
day. This obligation was abolished during Southey's 
tenure in 1820. But Southey, with his irrepressible 



PATRONAGE 247 

scribendi cacoethes? poured forth a stream of verse 
on every public occasion, with such profuseness as to 
give fresh point to Byron's admonition: 

" O Southey! Southey! Cease thy varied song! 
A bard may chant too often and too long." 6 

The salary was, during the eighteenth century, 
100 a year together with a butt of Canary wine 
every Christmas. The second item was commuted by 
Pye for cash: "27 in lieu of the butt of Sack", 
which sum was apparently included in the 100. 
" The present books of the Lord Chamberlain's de- 
partment show an annual payment to the Poet 
Laureate of 72, and in the accounts of the Lord 
Steward's department is still recorded an annual pay- 
ment to the Poet Laureate of 27 " in lieu of a butt 
of Sack." 7 

The office, it will be observed from the above 
enumeration, was, after the time of Dryden, rarely 
filled by a poet of the first order; and it is not per- 
haps surprising that in the eighteenth century when 
it was held (with the exception of Rowe and Warton, 
and perhaps Whitehead) by a succession of wretched 
poetasters, 8 and had been refused not only by a great 
poet like Gray, but even by a writer of the calibre of 

6 Macaulay (in a letter, January 18, 1843) : " Southey would write 
the History of Brazil before breakfast, an Ode after breakfast; then the 
History of the Peninsular War till dinner, and an article for the 
Quarterly Review in the evening." Trevelyan, p. 429. 

6 Broadus, p. 173. 

7 Ibid., Appendix V, 228 

8 Professor Broadus has been at the pains to collect some typical 
illustrations of their work from the official odes of Eusden, Gibber, etc. 



248 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Mason, Gibbon should have ridiculed its continu- 
ance. 9 It reached its nadir when Pitt gave it as a 
consolation prize to Pye, one of his political hacks. 
In the nineteenth century it was restored to respect- 
ability by Southey, and to honour and distinction by 
Wordsworth and Tennyson. 

Tennyson died (1892) almost immediately after 
Mr. Gladstone had formed his fourth and last Gov- 
ernment. I had then become for the first time a mem- 
ber of the Cabinet, and I had the privilege of more 
than one discussion with the Prime Minister as to 
the filling of the vacancy. Browning and Matthew 
Arnold, either of whom would have been fit to receive 
the laurel " greener from the brows " of Wordsworth 
and Tennyson, were both dead; Swinburne was 
judged to be " impossible " ; and Mr. Gladstone, act- 
ing on Jowett's advice, declined to nominate a suc- 
cessor. 10 Lord Rosebery took the same view, and it 
was left to Lord Salisbury to bestow the laurel on a 
faithful and busy political scribe, Alfred Austin. He 
inaugurated his term of office with the lines already 
referred to on " Jameson's Ride." 

When a vacancy again occurred in 1913, I had no 
hesitation in offering the post to Mr. Robert Bridges, 
and I had the satisfaction of finding my choice com- 
mended by the most distinguished and promising of 
the younger poets of the day. 

See Note 8 to Chapter LXX of the " Dedme and Fall " 
10 Broad us, pp. 197-202 A bitterly disappointed aspirant was Lewis 
Morris, author of the " Epic of Hades ", who, it appears, attributed to 
Jowett's influence "the deplorable resolution which our good .octo- 
genarian, Mr. G., was persuaded to make." 



PART SEVEN 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 

AN this chapter I have, for convenience, collected, 
and so far as was possible, traced to their origin, 
some of the principal " catchwords " which circulated 
in the political world during the years covered by the 
narrative. Several of them have been already re- 
ferred to. As will be seen, the most adroit coiners 
of this kind of currency were, on the whole, Disraeli, 
Goschen, and John Morley; but among the phrases 
which in their day were most in vogue, there are not 
a few striking examples of conscious or unconscious 
plagiarism. 

Of such plagiarisms Disraeli, who was a conspicu- 
ous offender, gives a characteristic defence, after he 
had been convicted of borrowing in his funeral oration 
on the Duke of Wellington (November, 1852) a 
lengthy passage from Thiers. He writes to Monckton 
Milnes: " Association of ideas brought it back when 
musing for a moment, amid the hurry and strife of 
affairs over a late, solemn occasion, and I summoned 
it from the caverns of my mind. Unfortunately the 
spirit was too faithful." 1 

Imperium et Libert as 

Mr. Disraeli, House of Commons, February n, 
1851, in a speech on Agricultural Distress, recom- 

i Buckle, " Disraeli ", III, 394. 



252 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

mended a policy by which, he said, they might build 
up again the fortunes of the land of England: 

" That land to which we owe so much of our power 
and of our freedom; that land which has achieved 
the union of those two qualities for combining which 
a Roman Emperor was deified, Imperium et Liber- 
tas." 

At the Guildhall, November 10, 1879, he repeated 
the phrase: 

" One of the greatest of Romans, when asked what 
were his politics, replied: ' Imperium et Libertas.' 
That would not make a bad programme for a British 
Ministry. It is one from which Her Majesty's ad- 
visers do not shrink." 

Mr. Buckle 2 points out that his " most famous 
collocation of Latin words " was a misquotation, into 
which he was betrayed by the authority of Boling- 
broke and Bacon. The actual words of Tacitus in the 
" Agricola ", section 3, are: " Quamquam. . . . Nerva 
Ccesar res olim dissociabUes miscuerit, principatum 
ac libertatem." 

Conspicuous by Absence 

It is generally believed that Lord John Russell 
used this phrase with regard to another statesman. 
It is to be found in his Address to the electors of the 
City of London, April, 1859: 

" Her Majesty's Ministers, early in the session, in- 
troduced a so-called Reform Bill. Among the defects 

2 "Life of Disraeli", V, 51$. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 253 

of the Bill, which were numerous, one provision was 
conspicuous by its presence and another by its ab- 
sence." Subsequently, alluding to it, he said: " It is 
not an original expression of mine, but is taken from 
one of the greatest historians of antiquity." 

Mr. Herbert Paul in an essay on the " Decay of 
Classical Quotation ", 3 remarks that the question 
whether this was a " bull " was " discussed for a long 
time before it was discovered by the maintainers of 
the affirmative that they were criticizing Tacitus and 
not Lord John." 

The reference is to the funeral of Junia, widow of 
Cassius, and sister of Brutus: 4 " Viginti clarissi- 
marum familiarum imagines antelatce sunt . . . Pr&- 
fulgebant Cassius atque Brutus eo ipso, quod effigies 
eorum non visebantur." 

Bloated Armaments 

" Disraeli used (Mr. Buckle observes) in a debate 
on May 8, 1862, on expenditure and policy, a phrase 
which stuck. Instead of acting in cordial alliance with 
France, he said, we had been trying to govern by a 
new system of what was called moral power, which 
meant ' bloated armaments ' in time of peace, and 
produced misconceptions, broils and distrust, while 
taxation had found its limit and was sapping the 
strength of England. The phrase itself at once pro- 
duced misconception." 6 

s " Men and Letters." 

4 Tac. Ann. Ill, 76. 

8 " Life of Disraeli ", IV, 300- 



254 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Rest and be Thankful 

Lord John Russell, at a dinner at Blairgowrie, 
September, 1863, said: 

" With regard to domestic policy, I think we are 
all very much agreed, because the feeling of the coun- 
try and of those who have conducted great reforms, 
is very much like that of the man who, having made 
a road in your own Highlands, put a stone on the top 
of the mountain with the inscription: 'Rest and be 
Thankful. 9 " 

" Strange indeed," writes Spencer Walpole, " is 
the fate of epigrams. Almost every well-informed 
person has laughed at the author of the Reform Act 
advising the country to rest and be thankful." 6 

" Doubling and doubling with laborious walk, 
Who, that has gained at length the wished- 

for Height, 

This brief, this simple wayside Call can slight, 
And rests not thankful? " WORDSWORTH. 

Mother of Parliaments 

Mr. Bright (Birmingham, January 18, 1865) : " We 
may be proud of this, that England is the ancient 
country of Parliaments. We have had here, with 
scarcely an intermission, Parliaments meeting con- 
stantly for six hundred years; and doubtless there 
was something of a Parliament even before the Con- 
quest. England is the Mother of Parliaments" 

The phrase had already become proverbial before 

" Life of Lord John Russell ", Walpole, II, 402. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 255 

it was used by Mr. Bright. It is a vulgar error to 
speak of the English Parliament as the " Mother of 
Parliaments." 

Unmuzzled 

Mr. Gladstone, Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 
offering himself as candidate for South Lancashire, 
after defeat at Oxford, July, 1865: 

" At last, my friends, I am come among you, and I 
am come to use an expression which has become 
very famous and is not likely to be forgotten I am 
come among you unmuzzled." 

" He is a dangerous man," Palmerston had said; 
" keep him in Oxford and he is partially muzzled; 
but send him elsewhere and he will run wild." 7 

The Cave of Adullam 

and 
The Scotch Terrier 

Mr. Bright, March 13, 1866, referring to the Lib- 
eral opponents of the Reform Bill, said: 

" The right honourable gentleman (Mr. Horsman) 
is the first of the new Party who has entered into 
what may be called his political Cave of Adullam, 
and he has called about him every one that was in 
distress and every one that was discontented." 8 

7 Life of Lord Shaftesbury ", II, 171, 188. 

8 i Samuel xxii 1-2 " David . . . escaped to the cave Adullam. . . . 
And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and 
every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him." 

Mr Trevelyan, in "Life of Bright" (p 356), notes that the French 
historian, M. Seignobos, has thus explained to his fellow countrymen the 
strange political term coined by Bright: "Allusion a un passage de la 
Bible Adullam avail voulu tuer David" 



256 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

It was in the same speech that Mr. Bright, observ- 
ing that Mr. Horsman had " succeeded in hooking " 
Mr. Lowe, compared this party of two to " a Scotch 
terrier that was so covered with hair that you could 
not tell which was the head and which was the tail." 

Two Members of Parliament, it was said, in a story 
recalled by Mr. Alfred Dale (in the Times Literary 
Supplement of June 5, 1913), were walking home 
from the House after the debate, and one asked the 
other: 

" Now, where did Bright get that c Cave ' from? " 

" My dear fellow," his companion replied, " have 
you forgotten your ' Arabian Nights '? " 

" Of course," exclaimed the other, " I remember 
now." 

Mr. Lowe, in an address on Primary and Classical 
Education before the Philosophical Institution of 
Edinburgh, November i, 1867: 

" You will remember that Mr. Bright, in last ses- 
sion of Parliament, denominated certain gentlemen 
by a name derived from a Cave. Well, I assure you, 
gentlemen, there was not one person in twenty whom 
I met who knew anything about the Cave of Adullam, 
and I was under the melancholy and cruel necessity 
of explaining it to them, and of pointing the arrow 
that was aimed against my own breast." 

Mr. Bright, writing in 1875, to his wife, about a 
visit to Earl Russell, said: 

" I told him the Palestine explorers have discovered 
the Cave of Adullam, which amused him very much." 9 

9 " Life of John Bright ", G. M. Trevelyan, p. 358. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 257 

Bishop Wilberforce, under date March 26, 1868, 
mentions Gladstone's new Commandment, " Thou 
shalt not commit Adullamy." 10 

Dining at Gladstone's, May 29, 1867, the Bishop 
had some conversation with Bright, and referred to 
his comparison of Lowe and Horsman to the Scotch 
Terrier. Bright said: 

" I had prepared it for a former speech, but while 
I was speaking I looked at Lowe and my heart melted 
and I left it out; but when on the occasion you men- 
tion he attacked me, then I had no pity and I gave 
him the dog." 11 

Our Own Flesh and Blood 

In a discussion on electoral statistics, in relation 
to the Reform Bill of 1866, Mr. Gladstone said: 

" I object to the whole mode of dealing with this 
question of statistics. Members seem as if they were 
engaged in ascertaining the numbers of an invading 
army. But the persons to whom their remarks apply 
are our fellow subjects, our fellow Christians, our own 
flesh and blood, who have been lauded to the skies for 
their good conduct." 12 " This was instantly de- 
nounced by Lord Cranborne as c sentimental rant ', 
and inquiries soon followed why kinship in flesh and 
blood should be limited by a 7 rental." 13 

Probably it was to this utterance that Mr. Lowe 

10 " Life of Samuel Wilberforce ", by R. Wilberforce, p. 324. 

11 Ibid, p 313 

12 House of Commons, March 23, 1866. 
is Morley, " Gladstone ", II, 203. 



258 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

was alluding when, in one of his anti-Reform speeches, 
he scoffed at the " maudlin enthusiasm of humanity." 

A Leap in the Dark 

Usually attributed to Lord Derby, who said in the 
House of Lords on the final stage of the Reform Bill 
of 1867 (Aug. 6), " No doubt we are making a great 
experiment and taking a leap in the dark" 

Mr. Justin McCarthy, in his " History of Our Own 
Times ", says the phrase had been previously used in 
the House of Commons by Lord Cranborne, after- 
wards Marquis of Salisbury). Lord Cranborne wrote 
in an article in the Quarterly Review, October, 1867: 
" We quite agree with Lord Derby in his estimate of 
his own measure. It is a leap completely in the dark." 

The phrase is traced to Thomas Hobbes, who is 
reported to have said with reference to his approach- 
ing death, that he was about to take his last voyage 
a great leap in the dark." 14 

Heartfree, in Vanbrugh's " Provoked Wife ", pro- 
duced twenty years after Hobbes' death, uses the 
phrase in accepting a challenge to matrimony: " So, 
now I am in for Hob's voyage; a great leap in the 
dark." 

To Educate the Party 

Mr. Disraeli, at a Conservative banquet in Corn 
Exchange, Edinburgh, October 29, 1867: 

" I had to prepare the mind of the country, and to 
educate if it be not arrogant to use such a phrase 

14 Benham, " Book of Quotations ", and Latham's " Famous Sayings." 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 259 

to educate our Party. It is a large Party, and re- 
quires its attention to be called to questions of this 
kind with some pressure. I had to prepare the mind 
of Parliament and the country on this question of 
Reform." 

This was in his famous " Blue Boar and Red Lion " 
speech: one of the happiest of his performances. 

Waiters upon Providence 

Mr. Gladstone, at Newton, October 17, 1868, re- 
ferred to the Conservative Ministers, in respect of the 
Irish Church, as Waiters upon Providence, looking 
for the moment, which way the cat was about to 
jump. 

The phrase had been used in " Coningsby." 15 Mr. 
Disraeli, describing political events in the autumn of 
1834, when King William dismissed the Whig Gov- 
ernment and Sir Robert Peel was summoned home 
from Rome, wrote: 

" The hundred and forty (Tories) threw a grim 
glance on the numerous waiters on Providence, and 
amiable trimmers who affectionately enquired every 
day when news might be expected of Sir Robert." 

Living in a Balloon 

Mr. Gladstone, in discussion on the Lords' Amend- 
ments to the Irish Church Bill: 

" We can hardly expect of the House of Lords that 
they should appreciate the humble considerations 

i* Book II, ch. 4. 



260 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

which govern the special relations between each 
Member of Parliament and the portion of the British 
people that he represents. From the great eminence 
upon which they sit they can no more discern the 
minute particulars of our transactions than a man in 
a balloon can see all that is passing on the earth 
below." 18 

Six Omnibuses through Temple Bar 

Mr. Bright, Birmingham, January n, 1870, deal- 
ing with reforms that the Government were expected 
to pass, said: " Bear in mind that it is not easy to 
drive six omnibuses abreast through Temple Bar, and 
therefore I cannot tell whether, during this session, 
there will be passed or even offered to Parliament a 
measure of Education such as you or I, or any of us, 
would hope for." 

Mr. G. M. Trevelyan says he had urged in the 
Cabinet that the Education Bill should be postponed 
until 1871, on the ground that the Irish Land Bill 
would occupy Parliament fully during i87o. 17 

Sanitas Sanitatum 

Mr. Disraeli, Free Trade Hall, Manchester, April 
3, 1872, promulgating Conservative programme: 

" A great scholar and a great wit, 300 years ago, 
said that, in his opinion, there was a great mistake in 
the Vulgate, which, as you all know, is the Latin 

16 House of Commons, July 15, 1869 
" Life of John Bright ", p. 409. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 261 

translation of the Holy Scriptures, and that, instead 
of saying ' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity ' Van- 
itas vanitatum, omnia vanitas the wise and witty 
King really said: Sanitas sanitatum, omnia sanitas. 
Gentlemen, it is impossible to overrate the impor- 
tance of the subject. After all, the first consideration 
of a Minister should be the health of the people." 

Mr. Buckle notes 18 that Disraeli had given this 
watchword of " Sanitas " at Aylesbury, on Septem- 
ber 21, 1864, without much notice being taken of it. 

Lord Rosebery in his volume on Lord Randolph 
Churchill (p. 151) says Sanitas sanitatum was by no 
means an original phrase, but had been employed 
some two centuries before Disraeli had uttered it; he 
does not say when or by whom. 

Busy Mint of Logical Counterfeits 

Mr. John Morley, in " The Struggle for National 
Education " (1873), dealing with an argument by 
Mr. Gladstone: " A poorer sophism was never coined 
even in that busy mint of logical counterfeits/ 9 

Plundering and Blundering 

Mr. Disraeli, in what his biographer describes as 
a " full-blooded letter, conceived in the hustings 
spirit ", to Lord Grey de Wilton, Conservative candi- 
date for Bath, October 3, 1873, on the policy of the 
Liberal Ministers: 

" For nearly five years the present Ministers have 

18 " Life of Disraeli ", V, 190. 



262 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

harassed every trade, worried every profession, and 
assailed or menaced every class, institution, and 
species of property in the country. Occasionally they 
have varied this state of civil warfare by perpetrating 
some job which outraged public opinion, or by 
stumbling into mistakes which have been always dis- 
creditable, and sometimes ruinous. All this they call 
a policy, and seem quite proud of it; but the country 
has, I think, made up its mind to close this career of 
plundering and blundering" 

As Mr. Buckle points out, Disraeli had used the 
phrase " plundering and blundering " before in 
" Coningsby." (Book 2, ch. 4.) 

It had been used by Bolingbroke. 

Friends of every Country but their Own 

Lord Beaconsfield, Guildhall, November, 1877, de- 
fending his policy on the Eastern Question: 

" Cosmopolitan critics, men who are the friends of 
every country but their own, have denounced this 
policy as a selfish policy. My Lord Mayor, it is as 
selfish as patriotism." 

Peace with Honour 

From a window in Downing Street, on his return 
from the Berlin Conference, July 16, 1878, Lord 
Beaconsfield said, " Lord Salisbury and myself have 
brought you back peace, but a peace, I hope, with 
honour, which may satisfy our Sovereign and tend to 
the welfare of the country." 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 263 

The phrase " Peace with Honour ", popularized 
by Disraeli, has been traced to many authors and 
statesmen from the time of Shakespeare and Sir 
Robert Cecil. It appears, for instance, in " Corio- 
lanus ", and in Wither's " Vox Pacifica." 

It was used in Disraeli's own time by Lord John 
Russell. During the autumn of 1863, Lord John, at 
Dundee, reviewed the legislative successes of the 
previous thirty years and then, turning to external 
politics, said, " As Secretary for Foreign Affairs it 
has been my object to preserve peace with honour." 

It was used also by M. Ollivier in the Chamber of 
Deputies, in 1870. When trouble arose over the pro- 
posal to make a Hohenzollern King of Spain, M. 
Ollivier said, " Le Gouvernement desire la paix. II 
la desire avec passion, mais avec I'honneur." 19 

Perish India 

At an anti-Turk demonstration held at St. James's 
Hall in December, 1876, and attended by Mr. Glad- 
stone and Lord Shaftesbury, the most fervent of the 
speakers were Canon Liddon and E. A. Freeman, the 
historian. 

Freeman said, " Perish the interest of England, 
perish our dominion in India, sooner than that we 
should strike one blow or speak one word on behalf 
of the wrong against the right." 

Lord Beaconsfield writes (December 16, 1876) to 
Lady Bradford, " I have just returned from Windsor. 
... I found the Faery most indignant about the St. 

19 "The Second Empire", Philip Guedalla. 



264 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

James's Hall Conference. . . . She thinks the At- 
torney-General ought to be set at these men; it can't 
be constitutional." 20 

In the condensed form, " Perish India ", Freeman's 
phrase, for a long time did service on Tory platforms 
as a convenient summary of Liberal foreign policy. 

Bag and Baggage 

Mr. Gladstone in his pamphlet, September, 1876, 
on " The Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the 
East " : 

" Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the 
only possible manner, namely by carrying off them- 
selves. Their Zaptiehs and their Mudirs, their Bim- 
bashis and their Yuzbashis, their Kaimakams and 
their Pashas, one and all, bag and baggage, shall I 
hope clear out from the province they have desolated 
and profaned." 

The phrase " bag and baggage " was already 
familiar in literature. 

Touchstone: Come, shepherd, let us make an 
honourable retreat! though not with bag and baggage, 
yet with scrip and scrippage. 21 

The Lord Incredulity to the four noble Captains 
before the town of Mansoul: 

" Arise with bag and baggage, and begone." 22 

Daniel Doyce was " ready for starting, bag and 
baggage." 2a 

20 Buckle, " Disraeli ", VI, 107. 

21 " As You Like It ", Act III, Sc 2. 

22 " The Holy War ", Bunyan. 

2 * " Little Dorrit ", Book II, ch. 22. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 265 

Professor Pesca, in "The Woman in White": 
" Send him off, bag and baggage (English phrase 
again ha! ) send him off, bag and baggage, by the 
train to-morrow." 

The Unspeakable Turk 

Mr. Carlyle, in letter to Mr. George Howard, on 
the Eastern Question, November 24, 1876: 

" The unspeakable Turk should be immediately 
struck out of the question and the country left to 
honest European guidance; delaying which can be 
profitable or agreeable only to gamblers on the Stock 
Exchange, but distressing and unprofitable to all 
other men." 

" That unspeakable Turk ", King Machabol, in 
Carlyle's " Essay on the Nibelungenlied ", 1831. , 24 

The Greatest of British Interests is Peace 

The fifteenth Earl of Derby, then Foreign Secre- 
tary, speaking after the outbreak of the Russo- 
Turkish War, at Merchant Taylors', on June n, 
1877, sa *d: 

" I agree with everything that has been said by 
Lord Salisbury that we must be ready to defend our 
interests when those interests are attacked . . . 
(but) after all we must remember this, that the 
greatest of all British interests is the interest of 
Peace/ 9 

24 Critical and Miscellaneous Essays 



266 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

Large Maps 

Lord Salisbury, in the House of Lords, June n, 
1877, replying to Lord De Mauley, who gave an 
alarming description of the progress of Russia in 
Central Asia, said: 

" In descriptions of this kind a great deal of mis- 
apprehension arises from the popular use of maps on 
a small scale. As with such maps you are able to put 
a thumb on India and a finger on Russia, some per- 
sons at once think that the political situation; is 
alarming, and that India must be looked to. If the 
noble lord would use a larger map say one on the 
scale of the Ordnance map of England he would 
find that the distance between Russia and British 
India is not to be measured by the finger and thumb, 
but by a rule." 

Men of Light and Leading 

Lord Beaconsfield, in his letter to the Duke of 
Marlborough (Election manifesto), March 8, 1880: 25 
" A portion of its (Ireland's) population is attempt- 
ing to sever the Constitutional tie which unites it 
to Great Britain in that bond which has favoured the 
power and prosperity of both. It is to be hoped that 
all men of light and leading will resist this destructive 
doctrine." 

He had already used the same phrase in " Sybil " 
(Book V, Ch. I), describing the interest occasioned 

28 A masterpiece of slipshod English, 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 267 

in the House of Commons by the endangered Consti- 
tution of Jamaica: 

" Not a public man of light and leading in the 
country withheld the expression of his opinion." 

He had been anticipated by Burke in " Reflections 
on the Revolution in France " : " The men of Eng- 
land the men, I mean, of light and leading in 
England." 

Greater Freedom and Less Responsibility 

Mr. Gladstone, on coming into power in 1880, 
wrote to Count Karolyi, expressing regret for words 
of " a painful and wounding character " with regard 
to Austrian foreign policy which he had used in the 
electoral campaign when " in a position of greater 
freedom and less responsibility." 

Prairie Value 

Mr. Bright on Irish Land Bill, May 9, 1881: 
" To the complaint that the Bill gives so much to 
the tenants and takes it all from the landlords, I 
should make this answer: If all that the tenants have 
done were swept off the soil and all that the landlords 
have done were left upon it, then, over nine tenths of 
Ireland the land would be as bare of houses, of barns, 
of fences, and of cultivation, as it was in prehistoric 
times; it would be as bare as an American prairie 
where the Indian now roams, and where the foot of 
the white man has never trod." 



268 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

The Grand Old Man 

The origin of the phrase as applied to Mr. Glad- 
stone is difficult to trace. 

Credit for it has been given to Lord Rosebery and 
Mr. Bradlaugh. 

What is certain is that Sir S. Northcote applied 
it to Mr. Gladstone at Liverpool, April 12, 1882. 
" Argue as you please, you are nowhere, because you 
are told that grand old man, the Prime Minister, 
insists upon the other thing being done." 

Sir William Harcourt, Derby, April 25, 1882, said: 

" Sir S. Northcote cannot understand what we see 
in what he is pleased to call ' that grand old man.' 
We understand it, for he is a grand old man." 

A Blank Cheque 

Mr. Goschen, House of Commons, debate on Con- 
servative Vote of Censure on Liberal Government for 
its Sudan policy, February 19, 1884: 

" I am asked to have the courage of my opinions 
and vote to-night against Her Majesty's Government, 
because I do not agree with them on some points. I 
have the courage of my opinions, but I have not the 
temerity to give a political blank cheque to Lord 
Salisbury." 

Goschen, in his diary, wrote that the phrase, " a 
political blank cheque ", was taken up by every news- 
paper and everybody congratulated him on it." 26 

26 Life of Lord Goschen ". Elliot, I, 279. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 269 

The phrase had, however, been already used by 
Mr. W. H. Smith. In debate, February, 1878, on 
Vote of Credit of six millions for anti-Russian policy, 
Smith said, " Mr. Gladstone is willing to give the 
great support of his name in favour of the expression 
of our views in the Congress, but he thinks it right to 
say that he refuses, on the grounds of precedent and 
financial policy, to give the six millions. It appears 
that the right honourable gentleman refuses to give 
the Government a cheque for six millions but he will 
give us a blank cheque, without money expressed, to 
be filled up by ourselves at the right time." 

End or Mend 

Mr. Morley, Liberal Conference, St. James's Hall, 
July 30, 1884, dealing with the action of the Peers 
in holding up the Franchise Bill: 

" Be sure that no power on earth can separate 
henceforth the question of mending the House of 
Commons from the other question of mending or 
ending the House of Lords." 

He subsequently referred to the phrase as a 
" jingle of mine ", but it has a long and distinguished 
history, as is shown by a letter from Mr. W. B. 
Kingsford in the Westminster Gazette of December 
27, 1906. 

Erasmus, 1518 (as translated by Froude, who ex- 
plains that the references in his book are to the edi- 
tion of the works of Erasmus brought out at Leyden 
in 1702): " That frigid quarrelsome old lady, The- 



270 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

ology. ... I would rather have her ended than 
mended." 

Erasmus, 1521: "I would sooner have Luther 
mended than ended." 2T 

Butler's " Hudibras ": Part II. Canto. I. 

" His only solace was, that now 
His dog-bolt fortune was so low, 
That either it must quickly end 
Or turn about again, and mend." 

Eikon Basilike: " I had the charity to interpret 
that most part of my subjects fought against my 
supposed errors, not my person; and intended to 
mend me, not to end me." 

To these may be added: 

Sir W. Scott, Halbert Glendinning in " The Mon- 
astery " (Ch. 19): " My fate calls me elsewhere to 
scenes where I shall end it or mend it." 

Byron, " Don Juan " (Canto 10, 42) : " This is the 
way physicians mend or end us." 

Filling the Cup 

Mr. Chamberlain, Denbigh, October 20, 1884: 
" I resent the insults, the injuries and the injustice 
from which you have suffered so long at the hands of 
a privileged assembly. But the cup is nearly full. 
The career of high-handed wrong is coming to an end. 
The House of Lords have alienated Ireland, they 
have oppressed the Dissenters, and they now oppose 
the enfranchisement of the people." 

27 Froude's " Life and Letters of Erasmus ", Lect. 10 and 14. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 271 

In 1895 Mr. Chamberlain ridiculed the Liberals 
for " the latest electoral device " of " filling up the 
cup " with measures to be rejected by the House of 
Lords. Mr. Asquith retorted that this device was at 
least ten years old, and that the credit for the intro- 
duction into our political vocabulary of a most useful 
and picturesque simile ought to be claimed for its 
true and original author. 28 

AULD LANG SYNE 

(Mr. Asquith to Mr. Chamberlain) 
From Westminster Gazette, February 18, 1895 

Should auld orations be forgot 

And never brought to min'? 
Should auld orations be forgot, 

And words o' lang syne? 

For auld lang syne, dear Joe, 

For auld lang syne, 
We'll take the Cup and fill it up, 

For auld lang syne. 

We twa hae stumped the countryside, 

And slang'd the Tories fine, 
But ye Ve wander'd mony a weary foot 

Sin auld lang syne. 
For auld, etc. 

We twa hae thunder'd gin the Lords 

From mornin' sun till dine; 
But Dukes between us now hae come 

Sin auld lang syne. 
For auld, etc. 

28 See ante, Vol. I, p. 126. 



272 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

March of a Nation 

Mr. Parnell, Cork, January 21, 1885: 
" We cannot ask for less than the restitution of 
Grattan's Parliament, with its important privileges 
and wide and far-reaching Constitution. We cannot, 
under the British Constitution, ask for more than the 
restitution of Grattan's Parliament. But no man has 
a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; 
no man has a right to say to his country thus far 
shalt thou go and no farther; and we have never 
attempted to fix the ne plus ultra to the progress of 
Ireland's nationhood and we never shall." 

An Old Parliamentary Hand 

Mr. Gladstone, pressed to state his Irish policy at 
the opening of the Parliament of 1886 while the Con- 
servatives were still in office, said: " I stand here as 
a member of the House where there are many who 
have taken their seats for the first time upon these 
benches, and where there may be some to whom, 
possibly, I may avail myself of the privilege of old 
age and offer a recommendation. I would tell them 
of my own intention to keep my counsel, and reserve 
my own freedom, until I see the moment and the 
occasion when there may be a prospect of public 
benefit in endeavouring to make a movement for- 
ward; and I will venture to recommend them, as an 
old Parliamentary hand y to do the same." 29 

29 House of Commons, January 21, 1886. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 273 

Three Acres and a Cow 

Term coined in a pamphlet by Mr. Frederic Impey, 
a leader in the movement for small holdings, and 
applied to the propaganda conducted by Mr. Jesse 
Collings. 

It was on an amendment embodying the policy of 
" Three Acres and a Cow " that Lord Salisbury's 
first Government was defeated, January 27, 1886. 

The origin of the phrase is traced to John Stuart 
Mill's "Principles of Political Economy." Mill 
quotes from a treatise on Flemish husbandry that 
" when the land is cultivated entirely by the spade 
and no horses are kept, a cow is kept for every three 
acres of land." Bentham, in criticism of a bill intro- 
duced by Pitt in 1797 (to provide for purchasing 
cows for poor people), points out that each cow 
would require for her sustenance three acres of land. 

Make Our Wills 

Mr. Goschen, at a meeting of Liberal Unionists 
and Conservatives in opposition to the Home Rule 
Bill, Her Majesty's Opera House, April 14, 1886: 

" There are some who seem to believe that if this 
Bill is passed we shall see the most brilliant transfor- 
mation scene that has ever been witnessed, and there 
are others who, as the result of the rejection of the 
Bill, paint a picture in which dark and subterranean 
forces play a desperate part. Some people talk about 

30 Latham, " Famous Sayings and their Authors " 



274 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

our houses being set on fire. If so, Captain Shaw 81 
will have to put them out. Others say that the dagger 
may again be brought into use. If so, we shall make 
our wills and do our duty." 

Classes and Masses 

Mr. Gladstone, in his Manifesto to the electors of 
Midlothian, dated Hawarden, May i, 1886, while 
the Home Rule Bill was before Parliament: 

" The adverse host consists of class and the de- 
pendents of class. . . . The heart and root, the be- 
ginning and ending of my trust is in the wise and 
generous justice of the nation." 

At Liverpool, June 28, 1886, he alluded to " a very 
great and important fact the fact that you are op- 
posed throughout the country by a compact army, 
and that army is a combination of the classes against 
the masses. . . . Upon the one great class of sub- 
jects, the largest and most weighty of them all, where 
the determining considerations that ought to lead to 
a conclusion are truth, justice and humanity upon 
these, all the world over, I will back the masses 
against the classes."* 2 

Ulster Will Fight; Ulster Will Be Right 

Lord R. Churchill, in a letter to a Liberal Unionist 
Member, May 7, 1886: 

" If political parties and political leaders, not only 
Parliamentary but local, should be so utterly lost to 

81 The then head of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. 

82 See ante, Vol. I, p. 165. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 275 

every feeling and dictate of honour and courage as to 
hand over coldly, and for the sake of purchasing a 
short and illusory Parliamentary tranquillity, the 
lives and liberties of the Loyalists of Ireland to their 
hereditary and most bitter foes, make no doubt on 
this point Ulster will not be a consenting party; 
Ulster at the proper moment will resort to the su- 
preme arbitrament of force; Ulster will fight; Ulster 
will be right."" 

Twenty Years of Resolute Government 

Lord Salisbury, at a meeting following a confer- 
ence of the National Union of Conservative and Con- 
stitutional Associations, St. James' Hall, May 15, 
1886, urged that Parliament should enable the 
Government of England to govern Ireland. " Apply 
that recipe honestly, consistently and resolutely for 
twenty years, and at the end of that time you will 
find that Ireland will be fit to accept any gifts in the 
way of local government or repeal of coercion laws 
that you may wish to give her." 

Forgot Goschen 

Mr. Churchill, in his Biography of his father, re- 
ferring to the confession so often attributed to Lord 
Randolph, that he " forgot Goschen " when he re- 
signed in December, 1886, says that, " However de- 
cisive, however disastrous to Lord Randolph the in- 
clusion of Mr. Goschen in the Government at this 

38 See ante, Vol. I, p. 153. 



276 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

time may have been, it was no surprise; for he had 
always been its advocate." 84 

Lady Dorothy Nevill says, " Mr. Long was in the 
smoking-room of the Carlton Club sitting with Lord 
Randolph, when the latter, who had just heard the 
news that Mr. Goschen had accepted the Chancellor- 
ship of the Exchequer, exclaimed: ' All great men 
make mistakes. Napoleon forgot Bliicher, I forgot 
Goschen.' " Lady Dorothy adds that it was with 
Mr. Long's consent that she published the true 
version of a somewhat dramatic historical epi- 
sode. 36 

Lady Jeune in " Memories of Fifty Years " says 
that Lord Randolph on the Sunday after his resig- 
nation lunched with her husband and herself to meet 
one or two political friends, and that when she sug- 
gested Goschen as a possible successor he treated the 
idea with scorn, but " about six weeks later I was 
driving up Brook Street when I saw him coming 
towards me. He stopped the carriage and shook 
hands, and he talked a little about various things 
and then said, ' You were quite right; I forgot 
Goschen.' " 

Blazing Indiscretions 

Mr. Morley, at Hull, November 25, 1887: 
" I am always very glad when Lord Salisbury 
makes a great speech. It is sure to be a speech in 
very terse and pointed language which it is a pleasure 

a4 "Lord Randolph Churchill", Ch 17 

85 "Leaves from the Notebooks of Lady Dorothy Nevill ", p. 21. 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 277 

to read, and it is sure to contain at least one blazing 
indiscretion which it is a delight to remember." 



Nonconformist Conscience 

Said to have been first used in political controversy 
by the Reverend Hugh Price Hughes, an eminent 
Wesleyan. 

Cecil Graham in " Lady Windermere's Fan " 
(Oscar Wilde, 1892): 

" A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and 
a woman who moralizes is invariably plain. There 
is nothing in the whole world so unbecoming to a 
woman as a Nonconformist conscience." 

Ploughing the Sand 

Mr. Asquith at Birmingham, November 21, 1894, 
dealing with the action of the House of Lords, and 
referring to the Bill for the disestablishment of the 
Church in Wales: 

" We shall be sitting night after night, week after 
week, perhaps for a couple of months, discussing seri- 
ously and with the endeavour to arrive at a wise and 
statesmanlike conclusion the best way of settling this 
difficulty, on the removal of which the hearts of the 
vast bulk of the Welsh people are set, with the knowl- 
edge that all our time, all our labour, and all our 
assiduity is as certain to be thrown away as if you 
were to plough the sands of the seashore, the moment 
that Bill reaches the Upper Chamber." 



278 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

A hackneyed metaphor common in classical litera- 
ture. Ovid, Her old., V, 115. 

" Quid arence semina mandas? 
Non profecturis litora bubus aras." 

Juvenal, VII, 48. 

" tenuigue in pulvere sulcos 
Ducimus, et litus sterili versamus aratro" 

" Still we persist, plough the light sand and sow 
Seed after seed, where none can ever grow." 

Gifford's translation. 

Gifford's lines are among the last entries in Joseph 
Chamberlain's commonplace book. 86 

Splendid Isolation 

This phrase, frequently attributed to Lord Gos- 
chen, is of Canadian origin. 

Mr. G. E. Foster, Canadian House of Commons, 
January 1 6, 1896: . . . " in these somewhat trouble- 
some days when the great Mother Empire stands 
splendidly isolated in Europe." 3T 

Mr. Chamberlain, at Queenslanders' banquet, 
January 21, 1896: 

" Three weeks ago, in the words of Mr. Foster, 
the leader of the House of Commons of the Dominion 
of Canada, the great Mother Empire stood splendidly 
isolated." 

36 Sir Austen Chamberlain, in Sunday Times, March 2, 1924. 
87 Times' report 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 279 

Mr. Goschen, at Lewes, February 26, 1896: 
" A system of international bartering has taken the 
place of the system of balance of power. We are not 
good at the game. We have been asked to play it, 
but we do not like the game, and so we have stood 
alone in that which is called isolation our c splen- 
did isolation ' as one of our Colonial friends was 
good enough to call it." 

Money on the Wrong Horse 

Lord Salisbury, in House of Lords, January 19, 
1897, sa id the parting of the ways (as between 
Russia and Turkey) took place in 1853 when the 
proposals of the Emperor Nicholas were rejected by 
Lord Clarendon. " Many members of this House will 
keenly feel the nature of the mistake when I say that 
we put all our money upon the wrong horse." 

Intelligent Anticipation 

Mr. (afterwards Lord) Curzon, House of Com- 
mons, March 29, 1898, being asked how it was that 
the Times correspondent at Peking had been able on 
several occasions to publish facts of the utmost pub- 
lic importance several days before the Foreign Office 
had information with reference to them, said: 

" It is the business of Her Majesty's representa- 
tives abroad to report to us facts of which they have 
official cognisance, and to obtain confirmation of 
them before they telegraph. I hesitate to say what 
the functions of the modern journalist may be, but 



280 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

I imagine that I do not exclude the intelligent antici- 
pation of facts even before they occur." 

Dark Horse in a Loose Box 

Mr. Morley (Forest of Dean, May 25, 1899): 
" I have had various requests that I should ex- 
plain a speech that was made by Lord Rosebery 
some days ago, and one correspondent even desires 
that I should subject my noble friend's speech to a 
scathing analysis. . . . A dark horse in a loose box 
is the last animal that I should like to subject to a 
scathing analysis." 

The Lonely Furrow 

Lord Rosebery (City of London Liberal Club, 
July 19, 1901): 

" I left the Liberal Party because I found it im- 
possible to lead it, in the main owing to the divisions 
to which I have referred. The Liberal Party in that 
respect is no better now, but rather worse; and it 
would indeed be an extraordinary evolution of mind 
if, after having left the Liberal Party on that ground, 
I were to announce my intention of voluntarily re- 
turning to it in its present condition. 

" No, gentlemen, so far as I am concerned, for the 
present at any rate I must proceed alone. / must 
plough my furrow alone" 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 281 

The Clean Slate 

Lord Rosebery at a Liberal meeting at Chester- 
field, December 16, 1901: 

"What is the advice I have to offer you? The 
first is this that you have to clean your slate. It 
is six years now since you were in office. It is sixteen 
years since you were in anything like power. And it 
does seem to me that under these circumstances the 
primary duty of the Liberal Party is to wipe its slate 
clean and consider very carefully what it is going to 
write on it in future." 

The phrase was used by Mr. Joseph Chamberlain 
at Holloway, June 17, 1885, when he taunted the 
Tory leaders with swallowing their contradictory 
professions " in order that they may have a clean 
slate and go in search of a new policy for a united 
Conservative Party." 

A Gamble with the Food of the People 

Lord Goschen, House of Lords, June 15, 1903, 
denouncing Mr. Chamberlain's fiscal scheme, and 
referring to the boons promised to be paid out of the 
tax on food: 

" My Lords, I call that a gamble. It is a gamble 
with the food of the people; and I trust that the 
noble Duke (the Duke of Devonshire) will tell 
us that in that gamble he will not take a hand." 



282 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

The Whole Hog 

Lord Goschen, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, 
November 6, 1903, discussing Tariff Reform: 

" If there are any extraordinary circumstances 
which require heroic (retaliatory) legislation I should 
not be adverse to it, but ... we are not prepared 
to go the whole hog" 

The old ostler in " The Romany Rye ", who had 
served at a Hounslow Inn: 

" When a person had once made up his mind to 
become a highwayman, his best policy was to go the 
whole hog." 

Benham in " Book of Quotations," recalls that a 
correspondent of " Notes and Queries " (September 
27, 1851) ascribes an Irish origin to the expression, 
stating that in Ireland a shilling was called a hog. 

A Raging, Tearing Propaganda 

Mr. Arthur Chamberlain said " Inquiry " with 
reference to his brother's fiscal proposals was only 
waiting until they were ready to have a raging, tear- 
ing, propaganda. (Birmingham Chamber of Com- 
merce, July 22, 1903.) 

Damn the Consequences 

Lord Milner, Glasgow, November 26, 1909, on 
the Budget: 

" I respect profoundly the opinions of statesmen, 
much my superiors in experience and authority, who 



POLITICAL CATCHWORDS 283 

advised the House of Lords, while condemning the 
proposals of the Government, nevertheless to let 
them pass, perhaps with a protest, on the ground 
that these proposals are so mischievous, that the 
country will suffer so much under them, that there 
will be a tremendous reaction in favour of the Union- 
ist Party. I respect that opinion, but I cannot follow 
it. If we believe a thing to be bad, and if we have a 
right to prevent it, it is our duty to try to prevent it 
and to damn the consequences." 

Wait and See 

Asked in the House of Commons, April 4, 1910, 
as to the probability of changes in the re-introduced 
Budget of 1909 on the matter of Irish finance, Mr. 
Asquith replied: " I am afraid that we must wait 
and see" 

On the same day, when asked by what procedure 
the Constitutional resolutions would be introduced 
into the House of Lords, he said: " The honourable 
member must wait and see" 

It is curious that a common colloquialism such as 
this, casually used to discourage premature curiosity, 
should have passed for a time into the slang of poli- 
tics, and even been caricatured into a maxim of 
policy. As Horace says, ha bent sw fata libelli; and 
the same is true of obiter dicta. 

The phrase appears to have been employed in the 
reverse sense in the House of Commons in May, 
1837, by Lord John Russell, who said that Ministers 



284 FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT 

would " wait and see " the intention of their oppo- 
nents. 

In 1885 (December 27) Mr. Chamberlain wrote 
to Mr. Labouchere regarding Irish political affairs: 
" I believe the true policy for every one except Mr. 
Gladstone is to ' wait and see.' " 38 

But its pedigree can be traced to a more illustrious 
source. Among the hitherto unpublished documents 
from the " Bowood Papers ", which Lord Kerry has 
collected and annotated in a most interesting volume, 
" The First Napoleon/' there is to be found a record 
of a conversation at Elba between the exiled Em- 
peror and two English Members of Parliament 
Messrs. Vernon and Fazakerley. In the course of the 
talk, Napoleon is reported to have said: 

" It is unfortunate for Europe that your Govern- 
ment is not a stronger one. If you had had a man 
like Lord Chatham at the head of affairs, he would 
have realized that it was a mistake to humiliate 
France too far. You had already humiliated her 
enough by saddling her with the Bourbons. . . . 
You will see there will arise one of these days in the 
heart of the country a Libyan wind (Simoom) which 
will upset everything. For my own part, I am no 
longer concerned. My day is done but Wait and 
See." 

as Lif e of Henry Labouchere ". Algar Thorold, p. 273. 

THE END 



INDEX 



INDEX 



ABERDARE, LORD, joins Gladstone's 
Administration (1868), i 8 

Acland, Right Hon. A. H D , jn 
last Gladstone Government, i. 
227 
retires from Parliamentary life, 

ii 37 

Affirmation Bill (1883), Gladstone's 
speech on, i. 77 ct seg 

Agitators and Agitation, note on, ii. 
185-186 

Alabama award, the, i 34 

Alexandria, bombardment of, i 97 

" All the Talents," Ministry of, u. 
203, 214 

Amending (Home Rule) Bill, the, 
ii 172, 175 

Amencan Civil War (1862), a criti- 
cised speech by Gladstone dur- 
ing, i. 41 

Anderson, Miss A M., summary 
of Factories and Workshops 
Act by, i. 262 

Arabi Pasha, revolt of, i 97-99 

Armenian massacres, Gladstone 

and, i 277 
Salisbury's protests, i. 277 

Army, abolition of purchase sys- 
tem in the, i. 29 

Army Estimates, division on, causes 
fall of Rosebery Government, 
i. 260 

Army Order, inoperative additions 
to an, ii. 167 

Army reform, Cardwell's, i. 20, 
Haldane's, ii. 63 

Arrears (Ireland) Bill, i. 95 

Asquith Administration (1908), 

formation of, ii. 59 
dissolutions in time of (Jan. and 

Nov, 1910), ii. 90, 107 
summary of record of, ii. 146- 

147 
Aston riots, the, i. 122-123 



Attorney-General first admitted to 
Cabinet, ii. 125 

Austin, Alfred, appointed Poet Lau- 
reate, ii. 248 

verses on Jameson Raid, i. 284- 
285 (note) 



B 



BALFOUR, RIGHT HON. A. J. (EARL 
OF), advice to Unionist Party 
in 1906, ii. 44 

agrees with Lansdowne's advice 
to Unionists on Parliament 
BUI, ii 113 

announces his resignation as 
Conservative Leader, ii. 129 

Asquith on retirement of, ii. 
130-131 

becomes Prime Minister, ii. 7 

Chief Secretary for Ireland, i. 
190 

defends action of Peers on Bud- 
get, ii. 90 

election of his successor as Con- 
servative Leader, ii. 131-132 

enters Parliament, {.37 

First Lord of the Treasury 
(1891), i. 214 

fiscal policy of, ii. 22-24 

his " signal " to the House of 
Lords, ii. 49 

informed of Government inten- 
tions re Parliament Bill, ii. 

1II-II2 

interview with King Edward in 

Budget crisis, ii. 84 
introduces Crimes Bill, i. 191 
loses his seat in 1906, ii. 38 
moves rejection of Coal Mines 

(Minimum Wage) Bill, ii. 

142-143 

moves vote of censure for ad- 
vice given to the King, ii. 114 

on a famous speech by Glad- 
stone, i. 52 



288 



INDEX 



Balfour, Right Hon. A. J. (con- 
tinued) 

on the 1912 Coal Strike, 
ii. 144 (note) 
outmanoeuvred by Campbell- 

Bannerman, ii 36 
Secretary for Scotland (1886), i, 

175 
speech on fiscal question at 

Sheffield, ii. 19 
suggests Cabinet investigation 

of fiscal question, ii. 14 
suppresses Chamberlain's resig- 
nation from Cabinet, u 17 
tribute to Duke of Devonshire, 

ii. 72 

Balfour regime, summary of As- 
quith's indictment of, i. 194- 
196 

Balfour, Right Hon. Gerald, re- 
jected in 1906 General Elec- 
tion, ii. 38 
Balfour of Burleigh, Lord, and 

Budget of 1909, ii 84-85 
Baptist, The, Chamberlain's letter 

to, i. 188 

Baring, Sir Evelyn (afterwards 
Lord Cromer), agent and ad- 
viser in Egypt, i 99 
Barristers who have proved Par- 
liamentary failures, i 169 
(and note) 

Beach, Right Hon Sir Michael 
Hicks (Earl St Aldwyn), a 
peerage for, ii 39 
and the climax of Churchill 

(1886), i 167 

Chancellor and Leader of House 
in Salisbury Administration, i. 

132 

character of, i. 122 
Chief Secretary for Ireland 

(1886), i 167 
declines leadership of Commons, 

i. 166 

resignation of (1887), i 190 
retires from the Exchequer, ii. 7 
succeeds Churchill hi chair of 

the Caucus, i. 122 
Beaconsfield, Lord, attends Berlin 

Congress, i. 57 

breach with Lord Derby, i. 55 
Buckle on a misquotation by, ii. 

252 



caustic criticisms of Gladstone 

by, i. 53 
death of, i. 113 

laments disuse of Classical quo- 
tations in the House of Com- 
mons, ii. 201 

officially styled "Prime Minis- 
ter," ii 206 
on the Home Rule movement, i. 

88 
reconstructs his Cabinet (1878), 

i. 56 

on " peace at any price," i. 61 
regrets retiring from Commons, 

i 48 

resignation of (1880), i. 71 
(see also Disraeli) 
Bechuanaland, annexation of, i 283 
Belfast, a Constitution for Provi- 
sional Government of Ulster 
drawn up at, n. 152 
Berlin Congress (1878), the, i 58 
Berlin, Treaty of, i. 58 
Biarritz, Asquith summoned by 

the King to, ii. 59 
Bimetallists, Harcourt's triumph 

over, i. 257 
Birmingham, a stormy political 

meeting at, i 122 
Birrell, Right Hon Augustine, Ed- 
ucation Minister in C. B 's 
Administration, ii 37 
his description of amended Ed- 
ucation Bill (1906), ii 49 
Bismarck, and the death of Lord 

Clarendon, i 12 

Blenheim, Bonar Law's speech at, 
Asquith's comment on, 11 154 
Bloemfontem, a conference be- 
tween Kruger and Milner at, 
i 301 
Boer War, commencement of, i. 

83, 302 
officially declared over, i 305; 

ii 4 
peace terms signed at Pretoria, 

ii. 7 
Boers, relations with " Outlanders," 

i. 283 

Boscawen, Sir Griffith, and Dises- 
tablishment of Welsh Church, 
i 258 

Bowood Papers annotated and 
published, ii. 284 



INDEX 



289 



Boycotting, commended by Par- 
nell, i. 90 

recrudescence of, i. 136 
Bradlaugh episode, the, i. 77 et 
seq. 

an expunged resolution from 
Commons journals, i. 82 

Gladstone's attitude towards, i. 
77, 78 et seq. 

the Fourth Party and, i. 77 
Brand, Speaker, how he dealt with 

Obstruction, i. 91 
Bridges, Robert, appointed Poet 

Laureate, ii 248 

Bright, Right Hon. John, and 
Forster's Coercion Bill, i 91 

condemns Irish methods of Ob- 
struction, i. 68 

letter to Chamberlain on Home 
Rule Bill, i 162 

on Egyptian policy of Glad- 
stone Government, i. 98 

resignation of, i. 98 

speech on Irish Church Bill, i. 
23-24 

speech on Irish Land Bill, i 92, 93 

suggests plan on veto of Lords, 

ii. 54 
supports Balfour's Crimes Bill, 

i 193 
Broadhurst, Henry, as Under-Sec- 

retary, ii 184 

Brodnck, Right Hon St John 
(Lord Midleton), and cordite 
reserve, i 261 

as a " Romeo Lord," i 257 
at War Office, ii, 3 
loses his seat in 1906, ii 38 
Brougham, Lord, lengthy speech 

on Law Reform, ii 199 
Browne, Bishop Harold, appoint- 
ment to Canterbury vetoed 
by Gladstone, i. 39 
Bryce, Right Hon James (after- 
wards Viscount), and Welsh 
disestablishment, i 259 
Buckingham Palace Conference, ii. 

173-175 
Buckle, Mr., and a misquotation 

by Disraeli, ii. 252 
Budget of 1894, new principles of 

taxation "in, i 255 
Budget of 1909, the provisions of, 

ii. 



opposition to, ii. 78 et seq 
Budget Bill, 1909, Asquith on 

probable fate of, ii. 83, 84 
Asquith's speech on Third Read- 
ing of, 11. 80-81 
Lords negative second reading, 

11. 87 
remtroduced hi Commons and 

passed by Lords, 11 94 
Bulgarian atrocities, denounced by 

Gladstone, i 51 et seq 
Buller, Sir Redvers, as Divisional 

Magistrate in Ireland, i 190 
Bulow, Count, a significant sen- 
tence in a speech of, i. 294 
Chamberlain's overtures to, i. 

294 
Burke, T. H , assassination of, i. 

95 

Burns, Right Hon. John, first La- 
bour M P. to enter a Cabinet, 
11 184 
post in Campbell-Bannerman 

Administration, ii 37 
Burt, Right Hon Thomas, enters 

Parliament, i. 38 
second Asquith's amendment to 

the Address, i 223; 11 184 
Bute, Lord, grants Dr Johnson a 

pension, ii 235 
Butt, Isaac, leads Home Rule 

Party, i 38 

views on obstruction, i. 67 
Buxton, Right Hon Sydney (after- 
wards Earl), Colonial Under- 
secretary (1892), i 227 
Postmaster-General, ii 37 
Trade, President of Board of, ii. 
122 



" CABINET," a word unknown in 

Constitutional law, ii 205 
Cabinet meetings, note-taking at, 

a breach of etiquette, ii. 220- 

221 
Cabinet Ministers, remuneration 

of, ii. 222 et seq 
Cabinet of 1880, constitution of, 

i. 7i 

Cabinet, the, its growth in corpo- 
rate unity and responsibility, 
ii. 214 



2QO 



INDEX 



Cabinet (continued) 

question of Dissolution decided 
by, ii. 218 et seq. 

relations of Prime Minister and, 

ii. 205 et seq , 213 et seq. 
Cairns, Lord, and Disraeli's Man- 
chester speech, i. 32 

and the Transvaal, i. 84 et seq. 
Cairo, occupation and evacuation 

of, i. 99, 100 

Cambridge, Duke of, resigns post 
of Commander-in-Chief, i 260 
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, 
a meeting disturbed by Suf- 
fragettes, ii. 141 

an unfortunate phrase at a Lib- 
eral dinner, ii. 4 

and Rosebery's resignation, i. 
279 

Asquith's review of Spender's 
Biography of, ii 57-58 

Asquith's tribute to, i. 299 

becomes Liberal leader in Com- 
mons, i. 299 

Chief Secretary for Ireland, n 

3i 

enters Parliament, i 7 

forms his Cabinet (1905), ii 36 

in charge of Army Estimates, i 
260 

joins third Gladstone Adminis- 
tration, i. 152 

moves that Education Bill be 
discharged, ii. 50-52 

on Cabinet difficulties in 1895, 
i. 252 

on secession of Harcourt and 
Mprley, i 297 

relations with Lord Spencer, n 

30-32 

resignation of, ii. 58 
resolution on restriction of 

Lords' veto, ii. 54 
Stirling speech of, ii 33-34 
views on Boer War, i. 303 
Canadian Confederation, genesis 

of, i. 20 
Cardwell, Right Hon. Edward, 

elevated to the Lords, i. 21 
post in Gladstone's first Cabinet, 

i. 7 

reorganizes British Army, i 20 
Carlyle, on the " unspeakable 
Turk," ii. 265 



Carnarvon, Lord, advocates a 

measure of Home Rule, i. 149 

becomes Viceroy of Ireland, i. 

I3S 

resignation of, i. 149 
secret meeting with Parnell, i. 

135 
Carrington, Lord, a Marquisate 

for, ii. 125 
Carson, Sir Edward (afterwards 

Lord), advocates a plan of 

campaign against Home Rule, 

n 152 
and the " Devolution " Scheme, 

n 27 
on charge of tampering with the 

Army, ii 156-157 
on 1909 Budget, ii. 82 
repeats Ulster formula, ii 152 
signs the " Solemn Covenant " 

at Belfast, ii 154 
triumphal tour through Ulster, 

11 154 
why Government abstained 

from action against, ii. 157, 

158 
Cass case, the, Mr. Matthews and, 

i 168 (note) 
Castlereagh, Lord, Brougham on, 

ii 195 (note) 
"Cat and Mouse" Bill of 1913, 

ii. 141 

Catchwords, Political 
" Bag and baggage," ii 263 
" Blank cheque," ii 268 
" Blazing indiscretions," ii. 276 
" Bloated armaments," ii. 253 
" Busy mint of logical counter- 
feits," ii 261 

" Cave of Adullam, the," ii. 255 
"Classes and Masses," i. 165; 

ii 274 

" Clean Slate, the," ii. 6, 281 
" Conspicuous by absence," ii 

252 
" Damn the consequences," ii. 

85, 282 
" Dark horse in a loose box," i. 

304; ii. 280 

"End or Mend," ii 269 
"Filling the cup," i. 126; ii. 270 
" Forgot Goschen," ii. 275 
" Friends of every country but 

their own," ii 262 



INDEX 



291 



1 Gamble with the food of the 

people, a," ii. 15, 71. 281 
' Grand old Man, the," ii. 268 
' Greater freedom and less re- 
sponsibility," ii. 267 
'Greatest of British interests is 

peace," ii. 265 

'Imperium et Libertas," ii 251 
* Intelligent anticipation," i. 

172; ii. 279 
' Large maps," ii. 266 
1 Leap in the dark, a," ii 258 
1 Living in a balloon," ii. 259 
1 Lonely furrow, the," ii 280 
' Make our wills," i. 155; ii 71, 

273 

'March of a nation," ii 272 
1 Men of light and leading," ii 

266 
1 Money on the wrong horse,*' 

i 277 (note) ; ii. 279 
' Mother of Parliaments," 11 254 
' Nonconformist conscience," u. 

277 
'Old Parliamentary hand," ii 

272 
1 Our own flesh and blood," n. 

257 
' Peace with honour," i 58 , n. 

262 

1 Perish India," ii 263 
1 Ploughing the sand," i 233 ; 

ii. 277 
' Plundering and blundering," 

ii 261 

' Prairie value," ii 267 
' Raging, tearing propaganda, 

a," ii 282 

1 Rest and be thankful," ii 254 
' Samtas samtatum," i 31; il 

260 

1 Scotch terrier," ii. 255 
' Six omnibuses through Temple 

Bar," ii 260 
' Splendid isolation," i 285 ; ii 

278 
'Three acres and a cow," i. ( 

150; ii. 273 

' To educate our Party," ii 258 
1 Twenty years of resolute gov- 
ernment," -i. 137, 154; ii. 27^ 
'Ulster will fight; Ulster will 

be right," i. 153; ii. 274 
'Unmuzzled," i. 4; ii 255 



"Unspeakable Turk, the," ii. 

265 

" Wait and see," ii 283-284 
" Waiters upon Providence," ii. 

259 

" Whole hog, the," ii. 282 
" Caucus," the (see National Lib- 
eral Federation) 
Cavagnari, Louis, murder of, i. 

62 

Cave, Mr. (afterwards Viscount), 
moves rejection of Licensing 
Bill, ii. 68 
opposes payment of MP.s, ii. 

138 

Cavendish, Lord Frederick, assas- 
sination of, i 95 
Cecil, Lord Hugh, defeated at 

Greenwich, ii. 38 

Cecil, Lord Robert, a comment on 
the Episcopal Bench by, ii. 
118 (note) 
and Old Age Pensions Bill, ii. 

67 

Cetewayo (Zulu King), ultima- 
tum to, i 63 

Chamberlain, Right Hon Austen, 
as a possible Leader of Con- 
servative Party, ii 131 
at the Exchequer, ii 18-19 
becomes a Cabinet Minister, ii. 

opposes payment of M P s, ii. 

138 
Chamberlain, Right Hon Joseph, 

advocates policy of Alliances, 

i. 290 et seq 
and an obnoxious provision in 

Home Rule Bill (1886), i. 156 
and Disestablishment, i. 259 
and the Corn Duty, ii gh-io 
and the "Die-hards," ii. 113- 

114 

Asquith's tribute to, ii. 40-42 
at Local Government Board, i. 

152 

becomes M P , i. 38 
Central Board plan of, i. 107 
Colonial Secretary, i 214, 274 
commonplace book of, ii. 278 
condemns Jameson Raid, i. 286 
Churchill's attack on, at Black- 
pool, i. 116-117 
death of, ii. 40-41 



INDEX 



Chamberlain, Right Hon Joseph 

(continued) 

defends his diplomacy in South 
Africa, i. 302 (note) 

demands a dissolution, ii. 35 

denounces the Lords, i. 126, 253 

enters the political arena, i. 29 

first introduction to Lord Salis- 
bury, i 159 

founds National Liberal Federa- 
tion, i. 69 

his social programme outlined, i 
103 

indicts existing fiscal system, ii 
20 et seq. 

joins second and third Gladstone 
Governments, i. 72, 151 

launches policy of Colonial Pref- 
erence, 11 ii et seq 

mistrusts designs of Gladstone, 
i. 143, 144 

objections to first and second 
Home Rule Bills, i 233 

on legislative results of second 
Gladstone administration, i 

127 

on the restoration of the Trans- 
vaal, i. 86 

repudiated by the " Caucus," i. 
158 

resignation of (1886), i. 156 

resigns (1903), to further policy 
of Preference, ii 16 

seventieth birthday celebrations 
in Birmingham, ii 40 

severance between Liberal Party 
and, i. 189 

suggests Round Table Confer- 
exyfe on Irish policy, i 187 

supports Crimes Bill, i 193 

uncompromising Radical 
speeches by, i 103, 104 

visHs South Africa, ii 9 
Chaplin, Right Hon. Henry (after- 
wards Viscount), enters Par- 
liament, i 7 
Chartered Company, and the 

Jameson Raid, i. 284, 287 
Child Labour, restriction of, ii 

203 

Childers, Right Hon. H C. E., be- 
comes Chancellor, i. 102 

Home Secretary in third Glad- 
stone Government, i. 153 



China, the Powers and, i. 289 
Chinese Labour, end of, ii. 43 

introduction of, ii. 24 
"Church Brigade" and Welsh 

Disestablishment, i. 258 
Churchill, Lord Randolph, a nota- 
ble periphrasis used by, ii. 43 

and Carnarvon's pourparlers 
with Parnell, i. 135, 136 

and the Affirmation Bill, i 82 

and the Fourth Party, i. 75-76 

and the renewal of the Crimes 
Act, i 131 

and the Transvaal, i 84 

arranges meeting between Salis- 
bury and Chamberlain, i. 159 

at India Office in Salisbury's 
first Administration, i 132 

Asquith's testimony to, i 115 

author's conversation with, i. 
179 

becomes chairman of Conserva- 
tive Caucus, i 121 

Blackpool speech of, i. 116 et 
seq , 119, 121 

Dartford speech of, i 173 

demolishes the " mud-cabin " 
argument, i 125 

denounces the Liberal Caucus, i. 
69 

differences with Cabinet col- 
leagues, i 175, 177 

enters Parliament, i 38 

favours coalition with Whigs, i. 
146, iS3 

his Budget never presented to 
Parliament, i 176 

his candidature at Birmingham, 
i. 119 et seq 

his " Elijah's Mantle " article, i. 
114 

his nickname for Mr Gibson, i 
130 

inflammatory speech at Belfast, 

i i53 
informal interview with Parnell, 

i 130, 133 

letter of condolence on death of 
Lord Iddesleigh, i. 186 

memorandum of protest against 
appointment of Parnell Com- 
mission, i 198 

on Forster's Coercion Bill, i. 
91-92 



INDEX 



293 



resigns leadership of Commons, 

i. 171, 177 

the rise of, i. 115 et seq. 
vetoes Northcote's leadership of 

Commons, i 132, 185 
Churchill, Right Hon Winston, at 

Home Office, li. 122 
enters the House, i 306 
First Lord of Admiralty, ii 125 
joins the Liberals, ii. 23 
on Carson's Convention, ii 164 
President of Board of Trade, n. 

59 

Civil List Act of 1837, ii 236 
Civil List Pensions, inadequate 

grant for, h 236 
Clarendon, Lord, and Gladstone, 

i 10 

as Whig, i 7, 8, 9 
four times Foreign Secretary, i. 

10 

Gladstone's tribute to, i 10 
overtures for partial disarma- 
ment, i. 11-12 

Classical quotations, examples of 
old-time use of, in debate, i 
i5 78-79, 125, ii 200-201 
present-day decadence of, n 201, 

253 

Cleveland, President, controversy 
with, on Venezuelan boundary 
question, i 289 

Closure, the, why adopted in Par- 
liament, i 68 

Clynes, Right Hon J R., elected 
MP, ii 184 

Coal Duties, abolition of, ii 66 

Coal Mines (Minimum Wage) 

Bill, Asquith on, 11. 143-144 
receives Royal Assent, ii 143 

Coal Mines Regulation Bill, i. 260 

Coal Strike (1912), ii 142 
end of, ii 145 

Coalition Government of 1853, as 
example of Third Party sys- 
tem, ii. 189 

Coercion in Ireland, i 95 
death-knell of, i 137 

Coercion Bill, Ireland (1881), in- 
troduction of, i 91 et seq 

Colley, Sir George, defeat and 
death of, at Majuba Hill, i. 

83-84 
Collings, Right Hon. Jesse, 



"Three Acres and a Cow" 
amendment to the Address, i. 
150 

Colonial Preference, advocated by 
Chamberlain, 11. n et seq 

Commons, House of, an arduous 

Session, i 189 
change in length of speeches in, 

n. 199 

changes in personnel of Mem- 
bers, n. 193 

differences with the House of 
Lords Asquith's memoran- 
dum on, n 45-46 
disagree with Amendment to 

Parliament Bill, n. 114 
disuse of classical quotation in, 

n 200 
friction with the Lords, ii 48, 

49, 53, 69, 77 
resolutions on veto of Lords, ii. 

96 

"scenes" in, i 234, ii 24, 112, 
196 et seq. 

Constitutional question, attempted 
settlement of, 11 102 

Corn Tax (1902), ii. 7-S 
removal of, ii 10 

Courtney, Right Hon L. H 
(Baron Courtney of Penwith), 
supports Crimes Bill, i. 193 

Covent Garden Theatre, Asquith's 
speech at, ii 137 

Cowper, Lord, resignation of, i 95 

Cox, Harold, his amendment to 
Old Age Pensions Bill, ii 67 

Cranborne, Lord (see Salisbury, 
Lord) 

Cranworth, Lord, a reported re- 
mark of Queen Victoria to, i. 
167 

Creedy, Sir Herbert, ii 170 

Creighton, Dr. (Bishop of Lon- 
don) and Lord R Churchill's 
speech on Affirmation Bill, i. 
82 

Crewe, Lord, at Colonial Office, 

ii 59 

conducts 1906 Education Bill in 
the Lords, ii. 49 

follows Morley at India Office, 
ii 125 

moves Second Reading of Par- 
liament Bill, ii. 105 



294 



INDEX 



Crewe, Lord (continued) 
plain speech to the Lords, ii. 

86-87 

Crimes Act, Balfour's, two nota- 
ble features of, i. 192 

Cromer, Lord, and Budget Bill, 
ii. 86 

Cromwell, Oliver, a proposed 
statue to, i. 257 

Cross, Richard Assheton (Lord), 
appointed Home Secretary, i 

37 
" Curragh Incident," the, ii. 166 

et seq. 

Curzon, Right Hon. George (Mar- 
quis) , and the " Romeo 
Lords," i 257 

elected MP, i. 170 

moves vote of censure for ad- 
vice given to the King, ii. 114 

Rede lecture on "Modern Par- 
liamentary Eloquence," 11. 202 
Cyprus placed under British ad- 
ministration (1878), i. 58 

transaction denounced by Glad- 
stone, i. 41, 58 

D 

DALE, REV. R. W., joins the Union- 
ists, i. 165 

Davitt, Michael, denounces "De- 
volution " Scheme, ii. 27 
enters the House, i. 218 
founds the Land League, i 89 
Death Duties, addition to, by 1909 

Budget, ii. 78 
Derby, i4th Earl of, retires from 

Premiership (1868), i. 6 
opposes Irish Church Bill, i 

25-26 
Derby, i$th Earl of, accession to 

Liberal Cabinet, i. 102 
breach with Beaconsneld and 

resignation, i. 55, 56 
Disraeli's letter to, i. 45 
Derby, i7th Earl of, repudiates 
suggestion concerning Army, 
ii. 156 

Devlin, Joseph, and the suggested 
prosecution of Carsomtes, ii. 

158 

"Devolution" Scheme of the 
" Irish Reform Association," 
ii. 27 



Devonshire, Duke of, advice to 

Unionist Party, ii. 44-45 
death of, ii. 69 
leads Unionist Peers, ii. 7 
President of the Council, i. 274 
resignation of (1903), ii. 17 
temperament of, ii. 72 
(see also Hartington) 
"Die-Hards," defeated in the 

Lords, ii. 119 
Lord Halsbury banquetted by, 

ii 113 
Dilke, Sir Charles, at the Local 

Government Board, i. 102 
enters Parliament, i. 7 
first post in 1880 Administra- 
tion, i. 72 

re-enters the House, i. 218 
Dillon, John, and the Plan of 

Campaign, i. 190 
deprecates proceedings against 

Carsomtes, ii. 158 
Disestablishment, Irish, Gladstone 

and, i. 4 

Lowe's support of, i. 16 
Disestablishment, Welsh, Bill for 

(See Welsh) 
Disraeli, Benjamin, and the vacant 

See of Canterbury, 11 241-242 
first Administration of, i. 6 
becomes Premier for second 

time, i. 36 
comments on Lord R Churchill's 

maiden speech, i 38 (note) 
created Earl of Beaconsneld, i. 

47 

funeral oration on the Duke of 
Wellington, ii 251 

his judgment on Lord Palmers- 
ton, i 3 

last speech hi the Commons, i. 
49 

Lord Rector of Glasgow Uni- 
versity, i. 35 

Manchester speech of, i 31 

offered Chancellorship of Ex- 
chequer by Derby, ii. 190 

on Lowe, i 16-17 

resignation of (1868), i. 7 

speech at the Crystal Palace, i. 

32-33 
the Conservative Party and, i. 

4, 5 
(See also Beaconsneld, Lord) 



INDEX 



295 



Drummond, Sir Eric, Secretary- 
General of League of Nations, 
ii. 170 

Dunraven, Lord, and the " Irish 
Reform Association," ii. 27 

Dyke, Sir William Hart, resigna- 
tion of, i. 150 



EAST FIFE, Asquith elected MP 

for, i. 169 
" Eastern Question, the," Disraeli's 

policy regarding, i 48 
Lord Salisbury on, i 277 (note) 
Ecclesiastical patronage, anomaly 

regarding, ii 242 
exercise of, ii. 239 et seq 
Education Act of 1870, passage 

of, i. 29 
Education Bill (1902), Unionist 

opposition to, h. 7 
Education BUI (1906) and the 

Lords, ii 48-49 

unsuccessful negotiations between 

Lords and Commons on, n 49 

Education, free, Acland's insistence 

on, i. 237 

Edward VII, King, a Cabinet Min- 
ute communicated to, 11 93 
death of, ii. 100 

efforts to avert collision between 
Lords and Commons, 11 83-84 
his regard for Fowler, ii 61 
last communication with As- 
quith, ii. 99 
recognition of term " Prime 

Minister " by, ii 206-207 
relationship with Asquith, n 100 
Egypt, British Protectorate estab- 
lished, i. 98 
dual financial control in, i 97, 

by what replaced, i 99 
military revolt (1881) in, i 97 
the Second Gladstone Govern- 
ment and, i. 97 et seq 
Eight-hour day introduced at 

Woolwich Arsenal, i 237 
Eighty Club, the, activities of, ii 

126 

Asquith at birthday dinner, ii. 8 
Ellis, Tom (Chief Whip), Har- 
court's letter to, i. 257 



shepherds Welsh members in 
support of Disestablishment 
Bill, i 259 

Second Whip in last Gladstone 
Government, i. 227 

Empire, Asquith on the Liberal 
conception of term, u. 5 

Employers' Liability Bill, with- 
drawal of, i. 237-238 

Evans, Sir Samuel, and the Licens- 
ing Bill, n. 68 

Eviction of Irish tenants, i. 190 

Ewart, Sir Spencer, resigns office, 
ii 168 



FACTORIES AND WORKSHOPS ACT 

(1895), passage of, i 260 
summary of, i 262-264 
Factory inspection, Asquith's min- 
ute to Cabinet on (1893), i- 
240-241 

Fashoda incident, the, i. 292, 295 
Fenwick, Charles, Labour MJP., 

u 183 
Firth, Sir C. H., his definition of 

" Agitator," ii. 185 
Fiscal controversy, the, Asquith on 
a singular Parliamentary sit- 
uation, u. 13-14 
Chamberlain and, ii. 9 et seq. 
determined by General Election 

of 1906, ii 40 
two pamphlets on, ii 21 
Fitzmaunce, Lord, on rejection of 

Licensing Bill, ii 69 
Flogging m the Army, abolition of, 

1.67 

Forster, Right Hon W. E., Edu- 
cation Act of, i 29 
introduces Coercion Bill (1881), 

i 90 et seq. 
joins Gladstone's Administration 

(1868), i. 8 

the Nonconformists and, i. 44 
11 Forward Policy " denounced by 

Gladstone, i. 60 

Harcourt's dislike of, i. 252, 295 
Foster, G E , coins phrase " splen- 
didly isolated," i 285 (note) ; 
ii. 278 

Fourth Party, the, and its leader, 
i. 75-76 



2Q6 



INDEX 



Fourth Party (continued) 

Lord Beaconsfield and, i. 112 
Fowler, Right Hon. H H, a 

Peerage for, ii. 61 
at Local Government Board, i. 

229 
speech on Indian Cotton Duties, 

ii. 62 

(See also Wolverhampton, Lord) 
France, salaries of legislators in, 

ii. 233 (note) 

Franchise Bill (1884), the, i. 124 
becomes law, i. 127 
rejected by the Lords, i. 126 
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke, mur- 
der of, ii 172 
French, Sir John, resignation of, 

ii. 168 

Frere, Sir Bartle, sends ultimatum 
to Zulu King, i. 63-64 



GENERAL ELECTION (1868), i. 6 
(1874), i 36 
(1880), i 70 
(1885), i. 152 
(1886), i 166 
(1892),! 217 

(1895), i 275 

(1900), i 306 

(1906), ii. 38 

(Jan 1910), ii. 91 

(Dec. 1910), ii. 107 
George III, King, Episcopal ap- 
pointments of, ii 239-240 
George V, King, accepts advice to 
dissolve Parliament, ii. 104 

and the Royal Prerogative, ii 
in 

announces death of King Ed- 
ward, ii zoo 

calls a conference of British and 
Irish parties, ii. 173 

opens Conference at Bucking- 
ham Palace, ii 173 
George, Right Hon. D. Lloyd, and 
Welsh Disestablishment, i. 259 

adds a new term to political 
vocabulary, ii. 82 

appointed to the Exchequer, ii. 59 

at Board of Trade, ii 37 

author of National Insurance 
Bill, ii. 135 



Budget of 1909, ii. 77 et seq. 
moves resolution for payment 

of M.P.S, ii. 138 

Gibson, Right Hon. E. (Lord 
Ashbourne), and Coercion in 
Ireland, i. 130 

Gladstone, Herbert (Viscount), ap- 
pointed Under-Secretary for 
Home Office, i. 227 
Governor of South Africa, ii. 

I2I-I22 

Gladstone, Right Hon. W E., a 
difference of opinion with 
Spencer, i 242 

abortive overtures to Lord Salis- 
bury on Home Rule, i 142 

and Budgets of Sir G C. Lewis, 
ii. 190-191 

and Chamberlain, i. 104 

and Chamberlain's social pro- 
gramme, i. 105 

and the Irish Church Bill, i. 22 

attacked by Churchill in speech 
at Blackpool, i, 117-118 

conversation with Peel on office 
of Prime Minister, ii. 209-211 

conversations with, recorded by 
Asquith, i. 266 et seq 

defeat of his second Govern- 
ment, i. 100, iio-in, 129 

denounces Lytton's " Forward 
Policy," i. 60-61 

end of his third Government, i 
163 

final leave-taking with his col- 
leagues, i 243-244 

first Cabinet of, i 7 et seq. 

first Home Rule Bill of, i. 159 
et seq 

habit of hasty resignation, ii. 
123 (and note) 

his colleagues (1868), i. 6 et 
seq 

his famous "Five Resolutions," 
i. 50 et seq. 

his judgment on Beaconsfield, i 

54 
intimacy with Granville, i. 213- 

214 
introduces Second Home Rule 

Bill, i. 232 
invites Asquith to move an 

amendment to the Address, i. 

223 



INDEX 



297 



Latin version of epitaph on 

Lowe, i. 19-20 
Midlothian campaign of, i. 64, 

83 
offered and declines an Earldom, 

i. 131 
offers Asquith post of Home 

Secretary, i 225-226 
on one merit of the Berlin 

Treaty, i 58 

Premier for second time, i 72 
Premier for third time, i 151 
Premier for fourth time, i. 

223 
produces Home Rule and Land 

Purchase Bills to Cabinet, i. 

155 

quotes from Lucretius, i. 78-79; 
ii. 1 80 (and note) 

reduced majority in Midlothian 
(1892), i. 218 

resignation (1874), i. 36 

resignation (1886), i 166 

resigns office of Chancellor 
(1882), i 102 

rejected by University of Ox- 
ford, i 4 

signs of failing health, i 218 

speech on Parnell Commission 
Report, i. 200-201 

valedictory message to the Com- 
mons, i 238-240 

vetoes appointment of Bishop 
Browne to See of Canterbury, 

i 39 

winding-up speech on Home 
Rule Bill, i 163-164 

Gladstone, W. G C , death of, in 
Great War, ii. 148 

Gladstonians, social boycott of, i 
160 

"Goat," the, epithet of, and to 
whom applied, i. 112 (note) 

Goderich, Lord, Cobbett's nick- 
names for, i 8 (note) 

Gordon, General, death of, i. 99, 

100 

mission to the Sudan, i. 213 
Gorst, Sir J. E , appointed Solici- 
tor-General, i. 132 
visits Beaconsfield at Hughen- 

den, i. 112 

Goschen, Right Hon. G. J. (Vis- 
count), a Peerage for, ii. 3 



Ambassador Extraordinary to 
Turkey, i 72 

at the Admiralty, i 274 

at the Exchequer (1887), i 182 

attacks Home Rule Bill, i. 160 

career of, ii. 70-71 

death of, ii 69 

denounces Chamberlain's " un- 
authorized " programme, ii. 15 

his part in two defensive cam- 
paigns, ii 71 

joins Carlton Club, i. 273 

noteworthy epigrams coined by, 
ii. 71 

on isolation of Great Britain, i 
285 

speech at Opera House, i 154 
Gough, General Hubert, and the 
Curragh Incident, ii. 166-167, 
168 
Grand Committees, purpose of, ii. 

202-203 

Granville, Lord, apprised of Lord 
Russell's determination not to 
take office again, i 6 

death of, i 212 

invited to form a Government, 
i 213 

letter to Queen Victoria on 
Lowe, i 17 (note) 

posts in Gladstone's Administra- 
tions, i 213 

Grey, Sir Edward (Viscount Grey 
of Fallodon), "Home Rule 
within Home Rule " plan of, 
ii 162 

Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs, ii 37 

Under-Secretary for Foreign Af- 
fairs (1892), i 227 
Grey de Wilton, Lord, Disraeli's 

letter to, i. 35 
" Guillotine," the, in Parliament, i. 

192, 232 

" Guy Mannering," a quotation 
from, in the Lords, i. 25 



HALDANE, VISCOUNT, appointed 

Lord Chancellor, ii 125 
organizes Territorial Army, ii. 63 
War Secretary in Campbell-Ban- 
nerman Administration, ii. 37 



2Q8 



INDEX 



Halsbury, Earl of, and the " Die- 

Hards," ii. 113-114, 115 
as lawyer and politician, ii. 121 
on " the bogy of the Royal 

Prerogative," ii. 115 
Hamilton, Sir ., on Gladstone's 
attitude to Navy Estimates, 

i. 243 

Hamilton, Lord George, enters 
Parliament, i. 7 

on Churchill's resignation, i 178 

on Gladstone's resignation, i 242 

on punishment of Jameson 

Raiders, i. 286 

Harcourt, Right Hon. Lewis (Vis- 
count), becomes Colonial Sec- 
retary, ii. 125 

maiden speech of, ii. 50 
Harcourt, Sir William, a maladroit 
eulogy of Gladstone, i 244 

and Morley, i. 246 

and Lord Rosebery, i. 228 

and the Peers, i 253 

becomes Home Secretary, i 72 

Budget of 1894, i. 255 

death of, i. 265; ii 29 

enters Parliament, i 7 

farewell letter to Beaconsfield, i 
48 

letters to Dilke on the political 
situation in 1876, i 50 

mistrusts "forward policy," i 
252, 295 

offered leadership of House, i 

245 
on British occupation of Egypt, 

i. 100 

on Cabinet "solidarity," ii 215 
on Rosebery 's resignation, i 279- 

280 
opinion of Lord Hartmgton, i 

181 (note) 
Prevention of Crimes Bill of, i 

95 
remonstrance to Gladstone 

and Morley's comments, i 249 
resigns party leadership, i 296 
stipulations regarding leadership 

of House, i. 245 
tribute to Milner, i. 300 
Bardie, Keir, as "agitator," ii. 

184 
chairman of Labour Party 

(1906-8), ii. 38 



pioneer of Parliamentary La- 
bour Party, ii. 184 
Hardinge, Lord, becomes Viceroy 

of India, ii 122 (note) 
Harris, Sir Charles, on Army re- 
organization, 11 65 
Hartmgton, Lord, Amendment to 
Address of, and result, ii. 
189 

at anti-Home Rule demonstra- 
tion, i. 154 

attacks Home Rule Bill, i 159 
declines to join third Gladstone 

Administration, i 152 
favours abandonment of Kan- 
dahar, i 62 
his advice to Queen Victoria, i. 

7i 
maiden speech as Liberal Leader, 

i 44 

mistrust of Gladstone, i. 144 
offered and refuses leadership of 

Commons, i 181 
on British occupation of Egypt, 

i 100 

on Gladstone, i 42 
succeeds his father as Duke of 

Devonshire, i. 214 
transferred to the War Office, i. 

102 

(See also Devonshire, Duke of) 
"Hawarden Kite," the, Churchill 
on Tory policy regarding, i. 
149 
its effect on the Liberal Party, i 

142 et seq 
Healy, T. M , and the Irish Land 

Bill, i 92-93 

Henderson, Right Hon. Arthur, 
chairman of Parliamentary 
Labour Party, ii. 184 
Henley, General Anthony, ii. 170 
Herschell, Lord, joins third Glad- 
stone Cabinet, i. 152 
Hicks, General, his force destroyed 

in the Sudan, i 100 
Home Office, the functions of, i. 

236 
Home Rule Bill (1886), i. 159 et 

seq. 
defeated in the Commons, i. 

163 

Gladstone's closing speech on 
Second Reading of, i. 163 



INDEX 



299 



Home Rule Bill (1893), i. 231 et 

seq. 

rejected by the Lords, i. 235 
Home Rule Bill (1912), 11 148 et 

seq. 

an Amending Bill to, ii 172 
receives Royal Assent, ii 177 
rejected by the Lords, ii. 149 
Home Secretary, the, his preroga- 
tive of mercy, ii 217 
Horsman, Mr , John Bright and, 

ii 255, 256 

Household suffrage hi towns es- 
tablished (1867), i 4 
Lowe's opposition to, i. 16 
Hustings nominations and open 
voting, last General Election 
under system of, i. 6 



IDDESLEIGH, EARL OF, tragic death 

of, i. 185 

(See also Northcote, Sir Staf- 
ford) 

Imperial Preference, a suggested 
starting-point for, ii 9 

"Imperial Union and Tariff Re- 
form," Chamberlain's publica- 
tion of, ii. 21 

" Imperialist," Asquith's definition 
of a true, i. 304 (and note) 

Income-tax, increase in, ii 78 

Independent Labour Party, the, ii 
183 

India, the " Keys " of, i. 63 

Indian cotton duties, Fowler's 
speech on, i. 256 

Insurrection, Gladstone on the 
right of, i. 267 

Ireland, agrarian crime in, i. 89, 

95, 136, 189 

first visit of a British Prime 
Minister to, ii 158 

Irish Church Bill, debates on, i 
22 et seq. 

Irish Free State, establishment of, 
ii. 185 

Irish Land Act, Gladstone's first, i 
29 

Irish Land Bill (1881), becomes 

law, i. 93 

discussed in the Commons, i. 
93 



Irish Land Bill (1903), passage of, 
ii. 25 

Irish Local Government Bill 
(1892), i. 216 

" Irish Reform Association," the, 
"Devolution" Scheme of, ii 
27 

Irish University Bill, collapse of, 
i. 34 

Isaacs, Rufus (Marquis of Read- 
ing) appointed Attorney-Gen- 
eral, ii. 122 

Isandlana, battle of, i. 64 



JACKSON, Bishop of Lincoln, ap- 
pointed to London, ii. 242 
(note) 

James, Sir Henry (Lord James of 
Hereford), and the rejection 
of Budget Bill, ii. 85-86 
Asquith's tribute to, i. 275 
" best man " at Harcourt's sec- 
ond marriage, i. 274 
Chancellor of the Duchy, i. 274 
joins Liberal Unionists, i 274 
retires from Cabinet, ii 7 
supports Crimes Bill, i 193 
Jameson Raiders captured by 

Boers, i 284 
cipher telegrams published, i. 

287 
their reception in England, i. 

284 

tned in London, i. 286 
Jeune, Lady, a reminiscence of 
Lord Randolph Churchill, ii. 
276 
" Jingoism," origin of term, i. 57 



KANDAHAR, British occupation of, 

i 62 
handed over to Afghanistan, i. 

83 

Kerry, Lord, " The First Napo- 
leon " of, 11. 284 
" Khaki Election " of 1900, i. 305; 

u 182 

result of, i. 306 

Khartoum entered by British, i. 
295 



300 



INDEX 



"Kilmainham Treaty, 1 ' the, i. 95 
Kimberley, Earl of, and Rose- 

bery's resignation, i. 279 
assailed with criticism by Har- 

court, i. 252 
elected Liberal Leader in the 

Lords, i. 281 
leave-taking with Gladstone, i 

244 

political career of, i. 7 
Kinnear, Boyd, loses his seat in 

East Fife, i 169 

Kitchener, Lord, a controversy as 

to claims of, for Viceroy of 

India, ii. 122 (note) 

and the Fashoda incident, i. 295 

Chief of Staff in South Africa, 

i. 305 

his place in Cabinet, ii 220 
Knollys, Lord, a disquieting mes- 
sage from, ii 99 
Kruger, President, conference with 

MUner, i. 301 
hands over Jameson Raiders to 

Imperial authorities, i. 284 
introduces a Franchise Bill, i. 
301 



LABOUR, as a definitely organized 

group, ii. 184 
Labour MP.s in 1886, ii 183 

in 1906, ii. 38 

Land League, the, and its activi- 
ties, i 89 
Land purchase, scope of extended, 

i. 216 

Land Purchase Bill (1886), Glad- 
stone's admission on failure 
of, i. 170 (note) 
unpopularity of, i. 156, 159, 203 
Land Taxes, new, ii. 78 

defended by Asquith, ii 79-80 
Land Valuation (Scotland) BUI, 

rejection of, ii. 53 
Lansdowne, Marquis of, advice to 
Unionist Peers by, ii. 112- 
113, 114-115 
amendment to Second Reading 

of Budget BUI, ii. 85 
and Coal Mines (Minimum 

Wage) Bill, ii. 144 (note) 
and Parliament Bill, ii. 105 



at Foreign Office, ii. 3 

at War Office, i. 274 

informed of Government's in- 
tentions re Parliament Bill, ii. 
in 

introduces a " Reconstitution 
Bill" in Lords, ii. 108 

King Edward's interview with, 
ii. 84 

resignation of (in 1880), i. 89 
Law, Right Hon. A. Bonar, ad- 
vises followers not to resist 
Trade Unions Bill, ii 146 

and refusal of Army to fight, ii. 
156 (note) 

concurs in postponement of 
Amending Bill, ii. 176 

declines to vote on National In- 
surance Bill, ii 136 

demands General Election on 
Home Rule issue, ii 160 

elected Leader of Conservatives, 
ii 132 

enters the House, i 306 

gives Unionist adhesion to Car- 
son policy, ii 152 

rejected at Election (1906), ii 

38 

Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, his applica- 
tion of the word " Jingoism," 

i. 57 

Lee, Mr (Viscount Lee of Fare- 
ham), opposes payment of 
M P s, ii 138 

Lewis, Sir George Cornewall, as 

financier, ii 190 

Gladstone's opinion of, i. 9 
(note), 269 

Liberal Cabinet, rifts in (1883- 
1885), i 102 et seq 

Liberal Coercionists, disavowed by 
Tory leaders, i 134 

" Liberal Imperialism," Morley's 
definition of, i 303 

Liberal Party, cleavage in, i. 298 

Liberal Unionist organization, re- 
construction of, ii 23 

Liberal Unionists, absorbed by 

Conservatives, ii. 183 
as " a useful kind of crutch," i. 

194 
defeat first Home Rule Bill, i. 

161, 163, 164 
support Crimes Bill, i. 193 



INDEX 



301 



Licensing Bill (1908), Asquith's, 

ii. 68 

rejected by the Lords, ii. 69 
Liddon, Canon, speaks at anti- 
Turk demonstration, ii. 263 
"Little Englander," Chamberlain's 

definition of, i 304 
Lockwood, Sir Frank, i. 259 
London, social life in, i. 271-272 
Long, Right Hon. Walter (Vis- 
count Long), and the succes- 
sion to Leadership of Con- 
servatives, ii 131-132 
opposes payment of M.P.s, ii. 

138 
succeeds Wyndham as Chief 

Secretary, ii. 29 
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, 

office of, ii. 223 

Lords, House of, differences with 
the Lower House, u 46, 48, 
49, 53, 69, 77 

motion for insistence on amend- 
ment of Parliament Bill de- 
feated, ii 118 

reject Finance Bill (1909), ii 87 
Lords, House of, Asquith on veto 

of, ii 45-47, 54-56, 90-91 
Loreburn, Earl, a pertinent ques- 
tion by, and Curzon's reply, 
ii 149-150 

as "pro-Boer," ii 127 
Asquith's fnendship with, ii 126 
becomes Lord Chancellor, ii 37 
his book on Great War, ii 128 
legal and political career of, ii 

125-126 
on attacks by Lords on Liberal 

legislation, ii 86 
promoted in the Peerage, h 128 
resigns Chancellorship, ii 125 
Lowe, Robert, a famous epitaph 
on and Gladstone's Latin 
version, i. 19 
Chancellor in Gladstone's first 

Administration, i. 7, 17 
duel with Gladstone over the 

Trojan Horse, i. 15 
enters Parliament, i 13 
Gladstone's estimate of, i 18 
joins Gladstone's crusade against 
Irish Church Establishment, i. 
16 
raised to the Peerage, i. 18, 72 



Lowther, Right Hon J. W. (Vis- 
count Ulls water), acts as 
Chairman of Buckingham 
Palace Conference, ii. 173, 175 
Lucy, Sir H W., on Liberal Party 

dinners, ii. 4 

Lyttelton, Right Hon. Alfred, and 
Chinese Labour on the Rand, 
ii. 24 

as Colonial Secretary, ii. 19 
death of, ii. 125 
loses his seat hi 1906, ii. 38 
Lytton, Lord, becomes Viceroy of 

India, i. 59 
" Forward Policy " of, i. 60 



M 

" MAAMTRASNA " debate, the, and 
its consequences, i. 134 

Macaulay, description of House of 
Commons by, ii. 194-195 
(and note) 

MacDonald, Right Hon Ramsay, 
enters Parliament, ii 38, 184 

MacDonnell, Sir Anthony (Lord), 
and the " Irish Reform Asso- 
ciation," ii. 27 

refuses Governorship of Bom- 
bay, ii 26 

Under- Secretary at Dublin 
Castle, ii 25-26 

McKenna, Right Hon. R, at the 

Admirahty, ii 59 
becomes Home Secretary, ii 125 
"Cat and Mouse" Bill of, ii 
141 

Macnamara, Dr. T. J , appointed 
Secretary to the Admiralty, ii. 
60 

Magee, Bishop, maiden speech in 
the Lords, i. 27-28 

Majuba Hill, battle ol, i 83-84 

Manning, Cardinal, dictum on 
Gladstone, i 271 

Marjoribanks, Edward (afterwards 
Lord Tweedmouth), Chief 
Whip in last Gladstone Gov- 
ernment, i 227 

Masterman, Right Hon C F. G, 
Parliamentary Secretary to 
Board of Trade, ii 59 

Match tax, an abortive, i. 17 



302 



INDEX 



Matthews, Right Hon. Henry (Vis- 
count Llandaff), first Roman 
Catholic Home Secretary, i. 
168, 169 

Midlothian campaign, Gladstone's, 
i. 64, 83 

Milner, Sir Alfred (Viscount), 
Asquith presides at dinner to, 
i. 300 
High Commissioner for South 

Africa, i. 300 
resistance to 1909 Budget, ii. 

84-85 

Minto, Earl of, apprised of Mor- 
ley's elevation to Peerage, ii 
60-61 

succeeded as Viceroy by Lord 

Hardinge, ii. 122 (note) 
Moonlighting in Ireland, i 90 
Morley, Right Hon. John (Vis- 
count), a characteristic note 
from, ii 123, 124 

a Viscounty for, ii 60 

advice to a would-be Cabinet 
member, i 229 

and Harcourt, i. 246 

and the Education controversy, 
i. 30 

approves resignation of Har- 
court, i. 296 

as litterateur and political jour- 
nalist, i 247; ii. 123 

becomes Chief Secretary for Ire- 
land, i. 152 

comments on Rosebery's letter 
of resignation, i 278 

describes passage of Parliament 
Bill, ii. 115-118 

exchanges offices, ii. 122 

first meeting with Parnell, i 210 

on Balfour's reconstructed Cabi- 
net, ii. 19 

on increased number of Cabinet 
members, ii 213 

on mentality of Gladstone, i 
248 

on resignation of Campbell- 
Bannerman, ii. 58-59 

tribute to a new generation of 

Liberals, i. 170-171 
Morley-Minto reforms, ii 123 
Mundella, Right Hon. A. J., joins 
Gladstone's third Administra- 
tion, i. 152 



N 

NATIONAL DEBT, reduction of, ii. 

66, 77 
National Insurance Bill, passage 

of, ii 135 

receives Royal Assent, ii. 136 
unpopularity of, in its early 

stages, ii. 136 

National League proclaimed as a 
" dangerous Association," i. 
194 
National Liberal Federation, the, 

founded, i 69 

meeting at Newcastle, i. 215 
Nationalist M P s, imprisonment 

of, i 194 

Nationalists, and Balfour, i. 191 
and the renewal of the Crimes 

Act, i. 130 

disappear from British Parlia- 
ment, ii. 185 
Navy Estimates (1894), Gladstone 

and, i 242 
Nevill, Lady Dorothy, her version 

of a political episode, ii. 276 
Newcastle Programme, the, Glad- 
stone and, i. 215 
co-operation of Harcourt and 

Morley in, i 248 
Newport speech, Salisbury's, i. 

136 

Nonconformist opposition to Edu- 
cation Act, i. 29 et seq 
" Nonconformist Unionist " Asso- 
ciation, Balfour's speech to, 
ii 129 

Nonconformists who joined Union- 
ists camp, i 165 
"No Rent" manifesto issued by 

Parnell, i 94 
Northcote, Sir Stafford, an affront 

to, by Churchill, i 132 
an Earldom for, i 185 
becomes leader of the House of 

Commons, i. 48 

laments disuse of classical quo- 
tations in the House, ii. 201 
leadership of Commons vetoed 

by Churchill, i 132, 185 
supports Churchill's candidature 

at Birmingham, i. 122 
(See also Iddesleigh) 



INDEX 



303 



O'BRIEN, WILLIAM, and the Plan 
of Campaign, i. 190 

Obstruction, during passage of 

1 88 1 Coercion Bill, i. 91 
in Welsh Disestablishment de- 
bates, i. 258 
Palmerston on, i. 66 

Obstructionists in Parliament of 
1868, i. 66-67; in 1881, i. 90 

O'Connor, John, and the Irish elec- 
tions, i. 270 

O'Donnell, Mr., libel action against 
The Times, i. 197 

Offices and Pensions, Asquith's evi- 
dence on, before Select Com- 
mittee, ii. 225 et seq 

Old Age Pensions Scheme, dis- 
cussed in the House, ii. 66-67 

Omdurman, battle of, i 295 

Open voting, author's recollections 
of, i. 7 (note) 

Orange River Colony, self-govern- 
ment granted to, ii 43 

" Osborne " judgment, Trade 
Unions and, ii 145-146 

O'Shea divorce case, i 204, 209 
(Cf Parnell) 

"Outlanders" of the Transvaal, 
position of, as described by 
Milner, L 301 

their hostility to Krugerism, i 
283-284 



FACET, SIR ARTHUR, and the Cur- 

ragh Incident, ii. 166 
Palmerston, Lord, a five hours' 

speech by, ii. 199 
death of, i. 4, 6 
Disraeli on, i. 3 
Parliamentary career of, i 3-4 
Paper Duty (1860), repeal of, 
Lords' action resented by 
Commons, ii. 89 
Parish Councils Bill, Fowler and, 

i. 229 

Gladstone on Lords' amend- 
ments to, i 238-240 
Parliament, changes in conventions 
of, i. 126; ii. 198-203 



Parliament Act, in operation, ii. 

148 et seq. 
Parliament Bill becomes law, ii. 

119 

introduction of, ii. 98 
Lords' Amendments to, ii. no 
terms of Cabinet Memorandum 
submitted to the King, ii. 110- 
in 
Parliamentary eloquence in 1869, 

examples of, i 22 et seq. 
Parnell, Charles Stewart, as Ob- 
structionist, i. 67 
and the Land League, i. 89-90 
and the renewal of the Crimes 

Act, i 130-131 

arrested and imprisoned, i. 94 
Asquith's study of, i. 206-211 
charges Gladstone with treach- 
ery, i 204 
chats with Asquith on Coercion, 

i. 138 
co-respondent in a divorce case, 

i 204 

death of, i. 214 
debut of, i 38 
enigmatic character and career 

of, i 206-208 
fall of, i. 204 

his alleged condonation of Phoe- 
nix Park murders, i, 197 
informal interview with Church- 
ill, i 130, 133 
Morley and, i. 210, 248 
released from gaol, i. 94 
secret meeting with Lord Car- 
narvon, i 135 
vindication of, i. 199 
Parnell Commission, the, and its 

report, i 197 et seq. 
Churchill on Report of, i. 200 
Gladstone on Report of, i. 200- 

201 

Patronage, Sir R Peel on, ii. 235 
Patronage, ecclesiastical (Sec Ec- 
clesiastical) 
Payment of MP.s, motion carried 

in Commons, ii. 138 
Peel, Sir Robert, and his Party, ii. 

187 

views on office of Prime Min- 
ister, ii. 200-210 

Peelites, absorbed into Liberal 
ranks, ii. 189 



304 



INDEX 



Peelites (continued) 
Disraeli on, ii. 188 

Pensions, political, what is re- 
quired of applicants for, ii. 
233-234 

Pigott, Richard, and Parnell let- 
ters, i. 199 

Pitt, William, summary of emolu- 
ments of, ii 224 

Pius IX, Pope, interviews of Eng- 
lish Liberals with, i. 21 

Plagiarist, Disraeli as, ii. 251 

Plan of Campaign, the, and its 

leaders, i. 190 

Parnell asks Morley's opinion of, 
i. 209 

Plunket, David, and the Franchise 
Bill, i. 124 

Plural Voting Bill, rejected by 
Lords, ii 50, 149 (note) 

Poet Laureates, list of, ii. 244-246 
official duty and salary of, ii 
246-247 

"Pope's Brass Band," the, ii. 188 

Port Arthur ceded to Russia, i 
289 

" Premier," Sir W Harcourt's dis- 
like of word, ii 205 

Press, the, present-day Parliamen- 
tary reports of, ii. 200 

Pretoria, peace terms with Boers 
signed at, ii. 7 

Pretoria, Convention of, restores 
Transvaal Republic, i 84 

Prime Minister, relations with the 
Cabinet, ii. 205 et seq , 213 
et seq. 
Royal recognition of term, ii. 

206-207 

when phrase came into vogue, 
ii. 206 

Primrose League, the, formation 
and growth of, i. 114 

" Provisional Government," a, 
formed in Belfast, ii. 152, 156 

Public Worship Regulation Bill, 
Gladstone and, i 43 

Purchase system in Army abol- 
ished, i. 29 



REDMOND, JOHN, and the Ulster 
question, ii. 151 



assents to Government compro- 
mise on Home Rule Bill, ii. 
163 

confidence of Irish in, ii. 158 

deprecates proceedings against 
Carsonites, ii. 158 

his adherence to Parnell, i. 206 

leads the Parnellites, i. 214, 256 
Referendum, the, Asquith's view 

of, ii 1 06 

Reform Bill (1866), denounced by 
Lowe, i 13 et seq. 

introduction of, i. 4 
Reid, Sir R. T. (See Loreburn) 
Rhodes, Right Hon Cecil J., con- 
duct of, condemned by Select 
Committee, i. 287 

policy of, as described by Mr 
Spender, i. 282-283 

resigns office and directorship of 
Chartered Company, i 287 

sympathy with the " Outland- 

ers," i. 284 
Rigby, Sir John, and the second 

Home Rule Bill, i 233-234 
Ripon, Marquis of, and Rosebery's 
resignation, i 279 

as Viceroy to India, i 72 

Colonial Secretary (1892), i 228 

political career of, i. 8 

post in Gladstone's first Cabinet, 

i. 7 

Ritchie, Right Hon. C T (Lord 
Ritchie), made a Peer, ii 39 

proposes abolition of Corn Duty, 
u o-io 

succeeded at the Exchequer by 

Austen Chamberlain, ii 18-19 

Roberts, Lord, Commander-in- 

Chief in South Africa, i 305 

" Romeo Lords," the, i 257 

Rosebery, Earl of, a momentous 

pronouncement by, ii. 116-117 

and Lords' opposition to Bud- 
get, ii. 85 

and reconstitution of the Lords, 
ii 97, 105 

Chesterfield speech of (1901), 
ii. 6 

Foreign Secretary in third and 
fourth Gladstone Govern- 
ments, i 152, 228 

his monograph on Pitt cited, i. 
251 



INDEX 



35 



invited to form a Government, 

i 245 
invited to rejoin official Liberals, 

ii-3 
on Peel as Prime Minister, ii 

208 

opposes 1909 Budget, ii 83 
passage of arms with Campbell- 

Bannerman, ii. 35 
protests against Parliament Bill, 

ii 109 
resigns leadership of Liberal 

Party, i 277 
resigns office, i. 262 
supports Licensing Bill, ii 83 
threatens resignation, i. 256 
tribute to Sir A Milner, i 300 
Rosebery Administration (1894- 
1895), a "snap" division as 
end of, i 261 
formation of, i 245 et seq 
" Round Table Conference " (Jan- 
uary, 1887), i. 187 
Royal Titles Bill (1876), i. 46 
Runciman, Right Hon Walter, 
post in Asquith Cabinet, n 59 
Russell, Sir Charles, counsel for 
Parnell in action against The 
Times, i. 199 

Russell, George, and Welsh Dises- 
tablishment Bill, i 259 
Russell, Lord John, determines 
never to take office again, i 6 
quotes Virgil in the House, ii. 

201 

relations with Lord Palmerston, 
i 3 



SALISBURY, MARQUIS or, a meet- 
ing with Chamberlain at the 
Turf Club, i. 159 

and the death of Lord Iddes- 
leigh, i 1 86 

and the Fashoda affair, i. 295 

antagonistic to fusion with 
Whigs, i. 146, IS3-IS4 

attends anti-Home Rule demon- 
stration at Opera House, i 

154 

caustic metaphor on Liberal 
Cabinet by, i. 102-103 



comment on Licensing Bill, ii. 
68 (note) 

death of, i. 265 

end of his second Administra- 
tion, i. 223 

fall of his first Administration, 
i 150 

his "Ministry of Caretakers" 
(1885), i. 131 

on the " Classes " and the 
" Masses," i 174 

on the Pigott exposure, i. 202 

opinion of Cabinet system of, ii. 
2 1 1-2 12 

plenipotentiary to Berlin Con- 
gress, i. 57 

Premier for second time, i. 166 

relations with Disraeli, i. 37 

retires from political life, ii. 7 

speech on resignation of Lord 
Derby, i 56 

statement on future of Irish 
Government, i 136 

third Cabinet of, i. 273 
Samuel, Right Hon Herbert, and 

the Licensing Bill, ii 68 
Schleswig-Holstein crisis, the, 
Queen Victoria and, ii. 216 
(and note) 
Schnadhorst, Mr , supports Home 

Rule, i 158 
Secret Voting, introduction of, i 

29, n. 181 

Seely, Right Hon J. E B., ap- 
pointed Secretary of State for 
War, n 125 

resigns office over Curragh In- 
cident, ii 168-169 

Under-Secretary for Colonies, ii. 

59 

Selborne, ist Earl of, tribute to 
Cardwell, i. 21 

Selborne, 2nd Earl of, appointed 

to the Admiralty, ii 3 
repudiates suggestion concerning 
Army, ii. 156 

Select Committee on Ministerial 
remuneration, Asquith's evi- 
dence, ii. 226 et seq 

Serajevo tragedy, the, ii. 172 

Serbia, Austrian ultimatum to, ii. 
176 

Shaftesbury, Lord, attends an anti- 
Turk demonstration, ii. 263 



306 



INDEX 



Shaw-Lefevre, Right Hon. G. J., 
created Lord Eversley, ii. 37 

Simon, Sir John, Solicitor-Gen- 
eral, ii. 122 

Sinclair, Right Hon. John (Lord 
Pentland), post in Campbell- 
Bannerman Administration, ri 
37 

Slave trade, abolition of, ii. 203 

Small Holdings and Allotments Bill 
(England) (1907), passage of, 
ii. S3 

Small Holdings Bill (1892), be- 
comes law, i. 216 

Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill 
withdrawn, ii. 53 

Smith, Right Hon. F E. (Earl 
of Birkenhead) , accompanies 
Carson to Ulster, ii. 154 

Smith, Right Hon W H., ap- 
pointed Chief Secretary for 
Ireland, i. 150 

becomes Leader of the Com- 
mons, i. 183 
death of, i. 214 
enters Parliament, i. 7 
Lord R. Churchill and, i 183 
on votes for Irish peasants, i 

125 
political career of, i 183-184 

Snowden, Right Hon. Philip, as 
member of Labour Party, ii. 
184 

Social Reform, Lloyd George's 
scheme of, ii 77 et seq. 

"Solemn Covenant," the Ulster, 
and its obligation, ii. 154 

South Africa, affairs in (1899), i. 

300 

the raid and after, i. 282 et 
seq. 

South Africa Confederation Bill, a 
lengthy sitting on, i 67 

Southey, Macaulay on, ii 247 
(note) 

Spencer, Earl, and Harcourt, i. 

254-255 
becomes Viceroy of Ireland, i. 

95 96 

death of, ii. 29 
realizes that Coercion is futile, i. 

144 

relations with Campbell-Banner- 
man, ii. 30-32 



resigns Irish Viceroyalty, i. 135 
Spender, J. A., on Government's 
inaction against Carson, ii. 155 
on Schleswig-Holstein crisis, ii. 

216 (note) 

Spurgeon, Rev. C. H., joins Union- 
ists, i. 165 

Stansfield, Right Hon. James, im- 
pressions of Gladstone as 
Prime Minister, ii. 217 
Sudan, the, Mahdist rising in, i. 

zoo 

Sudan War, close of, i. 295 
Suez Canal shares, purchase of, i. 

45 
Suffragettes, forcible feeding of, ii. 

141 
militant methods of, ii. 39, 140- 

141 

Super Tax, proposal of, ii 78 
Suspensory Act, a, accompanies 

Home Rule and Welsh Church 

Bills, ii 177 
Suspensory Lords' Veto, the, 

adopted by Government, ii. 

53-54 

Swinburne, A C, offered and de- 
clines a Civil List Pension, ii. 

237 



TAIT, ARCHBISHOP, death of, i. 39 
his appointment to Canterbury, 
ii. 241 

Tea duty, reduction in, ii. 66 

Tel-el-Kebir, Egyptians defeated 
at, i. 99 

Temple, Sir Richard, on Glad- 
stone's speech on Home Rule 
Bill, i 160 (note) 
opposes Welsh Church Disestab- 
lishment, i. 258 

Tennyson, Lord, death of, ii 248 

The Times, announces resignation 

of Lord R. Churchill, i. 178 
publishes articles on " Parnell- 
ism and Crime," i. 197 

Thomas, Right Hon J H., enters 
Parliament, ii. 184 

"Three Party" phase in politics, 
ii 187 et seq. 

Tory Party, question of leadership 



INDEX 



307 



after death of Beaconsfield, i. 

"3 
rifts in, i na et seq. 

"Trade and the Empire," As- 
quith's publication of, li 21 

Trade Disputes Bill becomes law, 
ii 47 

Trade Unions, removal of civil 
disabilities of, i. 29 

Trade Unions Bill, becomes law, 
ii. 145-146 

Transportation, abolition of, i 20 

Transvaal, annexation of, de- 
nounced by Gladstone, i. 41, 

83 

annexation in 1900, i. 305 

invaded by speculators, i. 282 

retrocession of, i. 84 

self-government granted to, n 

43 

Trevelyan, Sir G. O , and the Na- 
tionalists in Parliament, i. 95 

breaks with Unionists and be- 
comes Gladstonian, i 193 

joins third Gladstone Adminis- 
tration, i. 151 

resignation of (1886), i. 155-156 

retires from Parliamentary life, 

ii. 37 

Trial by jury suspended in Ire- 
land, i 95 

Tweedmouth, Lord, on use of met- 
aphor by Liberal leaders, n 6 

Two Party system in Ancient 
Rome, ii. 187 (note) 

U 

ULSTER, percentage of Catholic 

population in, ii 151 
Ulster Protestants, and 1886 Home 

Rule Bill, i. 165 
Ulster Unionists and Orangemen, a 

conference of, at Belfast, ii. 

151-152 

"Ulster Volunteer Force" re- 
viewed in presence of Sir E 

Carson, ii. 156 

Ulundi, British victory at, i. 99 
" Unionist," by whom term was 

coined, i. 153 
" Unionist Free Fooders " and the 

fiscal question, ii 22 



Unionist fusion, Harcourt's descrip- 
tion of, i. 273 (note) 
Unionists, and Chamberlain's " un- 
authorized " fiscal programme, 
ii 13, 14-15 

defeated in 1906 General Elec- 
tion, ii. 38 

invitation of leaders of, to an in- 
terchange of views on Ulster, 
ii. 1 60 
official advice to, on Parliament 

Bill, ii. 113 

(See also Liberal Unionists) 
United States, the, salaries of 
Cabinet Ministers and Mem- 
bers of Legislature, ii. 233 
(note) 
University Tests, abolition of, i. 29 



VICTORIA, QUEEN, and Churchill's 
leadership of the Commons, i. 
171 

and Lowe's appointment to the 
Home Office, i. 17 (note) 

and resignation of Duke of 
Cambridge, i 260-261 

and the controversy re Franchise 
Bill, i 126-127 

assumes title of Empress of 
India, i. 46 

death of, ii 6 

her estimate of Magee as 
preacher, i. 27 

invites Rosebery to form a Gov- 
ernment, i 245 

vetoes Disraeli's nominee to See 
of Canterbury, ii 240-241 

warns Gladstone, i 71 

W 

WALPOLE, SIR ROBERT, and the 
term " Prune Minister," ii. 
205-206 
estimated official income of, ii 

223 
Sir W Harcourt on, i. 181 

(note) 

War Office, the, Asquith's tenure 
of, ii. 160-170 



308 



INDEX 



Webster, Sir R. E. (Lord Alyer- 
stone) , and libel action against 
The Times, i. 197-198 
and the Welsh Church Bill, i. 

258 

cross-examines Parnell, i. 208 
Wei-hai-wei leased to Great 

Britain, i. 289 
Welsh Church Disestablishment 

Bill, i. 258 et seq. 
opposition to, i. 258 
rejected by Lords, u*. 149 
Royal Assent to, ii. 177 
Welsh Members support Disestab- 
lishment Bill, i. 259 
"Who? Who?" Cabinet (Derby- 
Disraeli), ii 188 

Wilberforce, Bishop, and Glad- 
stones^ retirement, i. 38-39 
on a new Commandment, u. 257 
on Cardwell, i. 21 
William II, Kaiser, telegram to 

President Kruger, i. 285 
visits Windsor, i. 294 
Willoughby de Broke, Lord, and 
the "Reconstruction Bill," ii 
108-109 

whipper-m of Die-Hards, ii. 114 
Wodehouse, Lord (ist Earl of 
Kimberley), political career 
of, i. 8 

(See also Kimberley) 
Wolff, Sir Henry Drummond, and 
the inception of the Primrose 
League, i. 114 
Beaconsfield's advice to, i. 112- 

H3 

Wolmer, Lord (afterwards 2nd 
Earl of Selborne), one of so- 
called " Romeo Lords," i. 257 



Wolseley, Sir Garnet, defeats Arabi 

Pasha at Tel-el-Kebir, i. 99 
dispatched to Zululand, i. 64 

Wolverhampton, Lord, resignation 

of, ii. 122 
(See also Fowler) 

Women, enfranchisement of, 
passed, ii. 140 

Women's Suffrage, divided opin- 
ions on, ii. 140 

Women's Suffrage Bill (1892), re- 
jection of, i. 217 

Woodstock, Salisbury and Church- 
ill at, i. 113, 119 

Workmen's Compensation Act, 
Chamberlain's inspiration of, 
i 276 

Wyndham, Right Hon. George, a 

nervous breakdown, ii 27 
admitted to the Cabinet, ii. 25 
and Irish Land Bill (1903), ii. 

25 

Chief Secretary for Ireland, ii. 
25 

death of, ii. 125 

repudiates " Devolution " 
Scheme, ii. 28 

resigns when attacked on " De- 
volution " Scheme, ii. 29 

Under-Secretary for War,'ii 25 



YOUNG England Party of the 

'Forties, i. 59 
Young Tories of promise in the 

'Nineties, ii 24 



ZULU War, the, i. 63-64